By Gilbert Ekugbe
“THE idea of free trade zone is a well-developed system of attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) into a country. It 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.”
Otunba Oluwatoyin Komolafe, President, Nigeria America Chamber of Commerce (NACC) stated this during a breakfast meeting organised by the Chamber.
“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, Mr. Emmanuel Jime, represented by a Director, NEPZA, Richard Obianu, noted that 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.
“Nigeria’s free trade zone is arguably one of the best in the world offering investors mouthwatering incentives to attract the much needed FDIs vital for economic growth and development. Investment opportunities such as agric and agro allied, solid minerals and metals, oil and gas and construction are areas where investors can take,” he said.