The Federal Government has said over $56 billion worth of investments have so far been attracted through the nation’s Free Trade Zones scheme since the creation if the zones.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo made the disclosure Wednesday in Abuja during the 30th Anniversary celebration of the Nigeria Free Trade Zone Schemes.

He acknowledged that the collaboration between NEPZA and OGFZA poses greater industrialisation strides in the efforts of the government to deliver economic prosperity to the citizens.

According to Adebayo, “it is interesting to note NEPZA has within its controlled zones a total of 44 private free zones in addition to the two functional public zones located in Calabar and Kano respectively with a total investment that stands at 26 billion-US-dollars as at 2022. The agency has also generated 150,000 employment and estimated 250,000 indirect employment in the past 30 years.

“Also, it gladdens by heart to report that OGFZA has used the Oil and Gas Free Zones to attract over 30 billion-US dollars of Foreign Direct Investment into our country. It has equally created over 50,000 direct employment and estimated 160,000 indirect employment respectively.

“The free trade zone scheme in Nigeria is beginning to make much meaning as it impact is now being significant felt. With the resolve of these two important regulatory bodies to now work together to revamp the economy, it is hope that the scheme will take its rightful position as the key driver of the nation’s economy and industrialization process”, he said.

In his presentation at the event, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Prof. Adesoji Adesugba
said over 400,000 employments have been created while $26 billion investments have been realised.

Adesugba said, “currently, NEPZA oversees a total of 46 Free Trade Zones, out of which 44 are private driven and two fully owned and managed by the Authority on behalf of government. These business enclaves harbours a total of 625 registered enterprises providing some 150,000 direct employment and an estimated 250,000 indirect employment to countrymen and women. The total volume of investment in these zones managed by us stands at 26 billion-US-dollars.

“We hope to increase this exponentially few years down the line with our ongoing aggressive investment hunts across Africa and beyond”, he said.

Adesugba also said NEPZA has broaden its synergy with agencies such as Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to deal with issues relating to taxes, operation of banking services in the Free Trade Zones.

While calling for synergy to develop the scheme and ensure shared prosperity, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, (OGFZA), Sen.Tijjani Kaura said OGFZA has performed credibly well in terms of contribution to the Gross Domestic Product and job creation.

“Taking cognizance of our comparative advantage in the hydrocarbon sector, Nigeria established the first free zone dedicated to oil and gas in the world. This has tremendously contributed to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Income, in an unprecedented manner”.