The Federal Government has announced the suspension of the issuance of licences for the operations of Free Trade Zones (FTZs) across the country.

This disclosure was made by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo, at the inauguration of the panel set for the evaluation of the performance of FTZs, on Monday, December 14, 2020, in Abuja.

According to a report from News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), a statement by the Special Assistant on Media to the Minister, Ifedayo Sayo, quoted Adebayo as stating that all applications for FTZs licences would not be processed pending the completion of the panel’s assignment.

What the Minister is saying

Adebayo pointed out that the key objective of the panel, headed by him, was to provide a set of recommendations that would improve government’s strategy on FTZs, based on thorough evaluation of their current operations.

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Finance Bill: No tax for employees on minimum wage

While noting that the panel would also look at its other terms of reference to provide a clear and detailed report within 9 weeks of inauguration, Adebayo also pointed out that the Minister of State in the ministry, Mariam Katagum, as a member, will come up with clear cut strategies to evaluate the operations of the recipients of FTZs licences.

This, he said, would help in delivering world-class FTZs, as expected under the Presidential Priority Projects (PPP).

  • It is important to note that FTZs in most developed countries have contributed successfully to their industrialization process. The model was adopted by the Asian Tigers and today, most countries, including African countries, are beginning to key into the idea. Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), has begun delivery of world-class FTZs across the country. However, due to poor implementation, we have yet to take delivery of the dynamic potentials of FTZs as an instrument for economic growth.”

What you should know


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Finance Bill: No tax for employees on minimum wage

Adebayo disclosed that despite licensing 33 FTZ operators in the country, only 12 are operational due to poor implementation. He said the current performance of FTZ licensees had been below expectation and as such, has negatively impacted on the ability of government to deliver on crucial priority areas.

  • The free-trade zone is referred to as an area within which goods may be landed, handled, manufactured or reconfigured, and re-exported without the intervention of the customs authorities. It is only when the goods are moved to consumers within the country in which the zone is located do they become subject to the prevailing customs duties.
  • The FTZs are very critical for the country’s industrialization and account for 68 million jobs with $500 billion revenue generated annually.

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