‘How free trade zones can drive industrialisation, foreign investments’
To drive industrialization and attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) into the country, the Nigeria America Chamber of Commerce (NACC) has emphasised the need for the present administration to prioritise developmental efforts towards developing infrastructural facilities at the nation’s free trade zones.
Indeed, the chamber stated that against the backdrop of depleting natural resources, governments of the world over are increasingly identifying Free Trade Zones as a veritable tool to fast track industrialization and for sustainable economic development.
The president, NACC, Otunba Oluwatoyin Komolafe, at its breakfast meeting on investment opportunities in Nigeria’s free zones, pointed out that investors all over the world are looking for jurisdictions where they would save cost and maximize returns on investment, maintaining that Free Trade Zones offer such opportunities as it has been identified as investors’ haven with attractive incentives and enabling environment.
He noted that Free Trade Zones are the preferred places for investment because of its friendly business laws and regulations deliberately put in place by governments to boost manufacturing activities and promote export of finished products.
“The idea of free trade zone is a well-developed system of attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) into a country that has been in practice in advance economies around the world and was introduced into Nigeria with the establishment of the Nigeria Export Promotion Zone Authority (NEPZA), which has led to the creation of different free trade zones across the country.
“The country has had opportunities in the past but they were wasted by the very people who should ensure compliance.
It is my hope that at this critical junction of our national life, certain fundamentals will be put in place; some of these would include provision of critical infrastructure like the establishment and functioning of free trade zones.
“This will ultimately lead to a boost in industrialisation which will bring about job creation, skills upgrade, promotion of exports and economic development,” he added.
Also speaking at the event, the Managing Director, NEPZA, Emmanuel Jime, represented by a Director, NEPZA, Richard Obianu, said Free Trade Zones are universal concepts deliberately created by governments to encourage investments by using incentives to bring down the cost of doing business in the country.
He said Nigeria’s free trade zone is arguably one of the best in the world offering investors mouth-watering incentives to attract the much needed FDIs vital for economic growth and development.
He said investment opportunities such as agric and agro allied, solid minerals and metals, oil and gas and construction are areas where investors can take advantage of to recoup their investments.
“Our free trade zone is one of the best in the world. You import and export without paying a dime on your goods. We believe that if the federal government continues to develop infrastructure, it will help attract more investors into the industrial parks,” he said.