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NEPZA to offer customs duties waiver, tax breaks to startups operating in Free Trade Zones

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The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has stated it will offer startups and foreign businesses operating in free trade zones tax breaks, customs duties waiver and other incentives as part of measures to stem the growing tide of foreign business exit in the country.

The Managing Director of NEPZA, Olufemi Ogunyemi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that it was supporting businesses within its free trade zones and enclaves.

He said, “This initiative aims to reduce production costs and incentivise companies to maintain operations in Nigeria. We offer a range of incentives designed to attract and retain foreign direct investment.”

“These incentives include customs duty waivers, tax breaks, and deferred payments to the government at the start-up phase of businesses,’’

He further decried the exit of multinationals and closure of businesses across the country and stated that part of Authorities’ plan includes addressing concerns raised by these companies such as increased power cost by offering innovative solutions tailored to business needs.

He noted that in exchange for these business reliefs, companies would be mandated to train Nigerians sometimes to professional level through CSR activities which he described as ‘Community Social Regeneration’.

In his words, “We are witnessing an unfortunate trend where companies are relocating due to issues like foreign exchange access and power supply. To mitigate these challenges, NEPZA is actively involved in providing power generation solutions tailored to the needs of businesses operating within its zones.”

“Now, on the flip side, like I said, it’s a handshake, so we give, and then we take. Therefore, NEPZA requests from these foreign direct investors that they employ Nigerians. They train Nigerians on skilled, semi-skilled, even sometimes up to professional level. These are statutory requirements that are part of this handshake.”

“And on top of that, there is something people call CSR but I call it Community Social Regeneration. I think that is a more accurate description. And it is part of the requirements we have on all these investors,’’

Ogunyemi stated that the NEPZA functions as a one-stop shop for investors, simplifying interactions with government agencies to improve the ease of doing business within NEPZA zones.

He mentioned that this directive had not been consistently followed in the past, but he is committed to ensuring its implementation during his tenure for the benefit of both investors and the country.

The managing director expressed confidence in Nigeria’s ability to attract and maintain foreign investments despite global economic fluctuations.

Additionally, he emphasized NEPZA’s dedication to using incentives and streamlined processes to promote business retention and economic growth in the country.

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