Kaduna State is gradually emerging as a new business destination of choice in Nigeria, attracting major investments in the last seven years. So far, the state has generated investment portfolio of about $4.3 billion spanning areas of agriculture, solid minerals, manufacturing and retail services. Already, more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs have been created. This feat was achieved by deliberate planning through the creation of a one-stop-shop and operationalizing of the ease of doing business charter to break barriers to investments and expansion of the fiscal space. The state, in 2018, was ranked first in the country by the World Bank in the ease of doing business. This is a quantum leap from the 24th position it occupied in 2014. According to Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, the government’s cardinal agenda is anchored on providing enabling environment for the private sector to drive the economy while government provides the enabling environment. “This is driven by numerous policy actions and reforms that are geared towards revamping our competitive edge by making Kaduna the state of choice for investments decisions. He said that the government vision was driven by the recognition that the private sector provides the fastest way to create jobs and global competitiveness for the bulging youthful population. “Kaduna State Government has attracted a total investment portfolio of $4,488,000,000, comprising actualized and announced investments, and has created 75,750 direct and indirect jobs, in the last seven years,” according to El-Rufai. The journey began in 2016 when the state held its first Economic and Investment Summit, tagged KadInvest 1.0, which attracted 25 local and foreign investments worth $500 million. Subsequently, the Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency developed an investment regulation framework to drive Public Private Partnership to facilitate investment across multiple sectors. During the KadInvest 2.0 in 2017, Kaduna state government unveiled its 2016-2020 Development Plan and SIP as vehicles for achieving SDGs through the annual budgetary framework. Thus, the state’s annual budget had since then, largely funded infrastructure development Some of the key investments attracted to the state in 2017 include Olam Poultry and Feed Mill, Mass Housing at Millennium City, KADICT, etc. A 3-year MoU was also signed with USAID to help drive economic development in the state and also launch of the Eyes and Ears Citizen Engagement Platform. Also, the KadInvest 3.0 in 2018 was used to unveil the state Infrastructure Master Plan (2018-2050). A total of 14+ investments were solidified through foreign and domestic investments. The state attracted 79 per cent Foreign Direct Investment and 21 per cent Domestic Investment, including the new flagship Dangote Peugeot Automobile Plant while more focus was made to building human capital. KadInvest 4.0 in 2019 brought about the operationalisation of the Kaduna Industrial Master Plan and improved the investment portfolio by 300 per cent. It was during the event that the state launched into the Industry 4.0 phase focusing on developing knowledge-driven economy while revamping industries. KadInvest 5.0 in 2020 was on “Infrastructure, industrialisation and innovation” and had the first Sub-National Virtual Economic and Investment Summit in Nigeria. It launched the Oxford Business Group Kaduna Report and the Public Private Partnership Policy and Manual. In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state grew its investment portfolio by over $500 million. In 2021, the government focus was on promotion of knowledge-based economy through its 5-year Development Plan (2021-2025), which carries the blueprint showcasing where the state wants to be by 2025. According to El-Rufai, the plan contains a “tourism catalogue to proactively showcase our tourist sites and investment opportunities to the international market. ”It also has the Skills for Prosperity plan, a demand driven Skills and Education Programme that will equip youths with high quality skills needed by industries,” he said. In the last investment summit held from Oct. 13- Oct. 17, President Muhammadu Buhari commended the state for emerging the investment destination of choice in Nigeria. He said it was a recognition of the state’s policy drive and consistency which made the business community to continue to bring more investments. During the 7th edition of Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit, various projects were opened to full business. Some of the companies include Falgates Foods and Rice Mill, AFEX Aggregation and Processing Centre, the KASTLEA Vehicle Inspection Centre, Kaduna Galaxy Mall, and COP Fertilizer Company. Others include a film village, three housing estates: Muwaffaq Estate, Nuru Siraj Estate, and Rheyno Estate, and Amsco Neighbourhood Centre. The event was rounded up with the launch of the new Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) Charter 2022. There was also the declaration of the state’s Green Economic Zone as a Special Economic Zone with Free Trade Zone Status and Operational License by the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA). The state is angling to attract more investors by touting its population and infrastructure. “Kaduna state is the third biggest consumer market in Nigeria, the third most populous state in Nigeria and has 52 per cent of Nigeria’s consumer market. ‘’Besides, Kaduna state is rich in mineral resources as it has over 25 non-oil mineral deposits, including gold, iron ore and marble,’’ the governor said during the KadInvest 7.0. He also listed some of the major achievements of his administration, which include raking in N52 billion as Internally Generated Revenue in 2021 as against N11 billion in 2015. These also include completion of roads and recreational facilities, construction and expansion of schools, launch of aerial services for drugs supply and completion of an additional 300-bed hospital in Kaduna. According to El-Rufai, what the state has been doing is to become more innovative and resilient against global economic shocks by harnessing its comparative advantages to build the confidence of investors. As part of its future plans, the state is eyeing N20 trillion investments by 2050, raise investment in agriculture to contribute 40 per cent of overall state GDP by 2025. It also wants at least 10 percent share of electronics sector; 10 per cent in Motor Vehicle Assembly sector; 20 per cent penetration of renewables, and increase electricity grid by at least 400 MW. The government also plans to formalize artisanal mining to capture unaccounted mining activities in the state and their corresponding revenue generation. It also wants to revive brownfield textile industries and improve support services provided to cotton farmers. Other areas are innovation via ICT in the areas of Agriculture, Manufacturing, and Education. Expanding road network and provision of inter and intra transportation scheme, and exploring opportunities in rail freight transport between major industrial sites in the state. NewsSourceCredit: NAN
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo and his Science and Technology counterpart, Dr Adeleke Mamora, are to play key roles at the Nigeria-Canada Trade and Investment Business Forum in Ottawa, Canada, in January 2023.
The Communication Director of Affinity Global Trade and Investment Ltd., Mrs Anum Ilyas, said this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Lagos.
Ilyas said the Trade and Investment Business Forum (NCTIBF) slated for Jan. 9 to 12, 2023 in Ottawa, Canada, would see the ministers give key speeches and champion the course of Nigerian trade and investment.
She said the event was being organised by the Canadian Council on Africa in partnership with Affinity Global Trade and Investment Ltd., and in collaboration and support of the Nigeria High Commission, Ottawa.
Ilyas said participating organisations with confirmed delegates were the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Raw Materials Research Council, Nigeria Export, and the Export Processing Zones Authority – NEPZA.
She said private sector confirmed delegates included Global Trade Expert, Geetyme Oil & Gas Integrated Services and Areef Hydro Services Ltd. Captains of industries specially invited to join the forum delegation are the Dangote Group, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, and Quits Aviation Free Zone Company Plc?
She said the forum was intended to contribute to the acceleration of economic and commercial relations between Nigeria and Canada through curated transactions and marketplace interactions for businesses, governments, and not-for-profit organisations.
According to her, the event will bring together a formidable Nigerian delegation with leading Canadian leaders, from both the public and private sectors, for building strong networks and symbiotic knowledge sharing relationships.
“The forum, in a class of its own, will focus on changing the trajectory of intergovernmental and business-to-business relations between Canada and Nigeria towards stronger engagement and ties.
“Specifically, the event would focus on engagements and panel discussions centered around three key : manufacturing, science & technology, and oil & gas.
“The forum is expected to welcome over 100 delegates from Nigeria and Canada, including government and private sector officials from both countries as well as investors, development partners, and trade support institutions,” Ilyas said.
She said the objectives of the forum included deepening economic ties between Nigeria and Canada and establishment of a Nigeria-Canada manufacturing alliance to provide strategic guidance and leadership for trade and bilateral cooperation.
Others are: facilitating the engagement of senior Nigerian government officials and industry leaders with their Canadian counterparts to accelerate progress on the Nigeria-Canada Foreign Investment Protection Agreement Bilateral relations.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo has decorated 37 Special Economic Zones Security (SEZSEC) personnel to boost the security architecture of Nigeria’s free trade zones.
Adebayo said on Thursday in Abuja that the special economic zones security was to specialise in the security of investments, while complementing the services provided by other security agencies at the country’s free trade zones.
The minister said that it was a sure way to attract more Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) “as it is natural for investment to locate where it can be secured’’.
According to him, the Federal Government approved the establishment of this security outfit which is midwifed by the Directorate of State Services (DSS).
“It is a deliberate measure to further fortify the country’s 46 free trade zones against economic sabotage and for the protection of investments domiciled in those special business areas.
“The outfit is to specialise in the security of investments and complement the wonderful services already provided by the DSS, Police, Civil Defence, the Nigeria Custom Service and the Nigeria Immigration service,’’ the minister said.
While urging them to be professional in the discharge of their duties, Adebayo pledged that hard work would be rewarded while appropriate sanctions await those who would err.
“The government will not hesitate in rewarding hard work, just as it will not relent in punishing any of you who runs afoul of the law.
“Stay focused in the delivery of your services for the attraction of the much needed investments which will create jobs and improve our GDP,’’ he said.
Earlier, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, the managing director, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), said that the reason for establishing the unit could not be overemphasised.
“Our ultimate aim is simply to provide adequate security to lives, properties and investments in the free trade zones.
“The issue of security and its attendant challenges have been of serious concern in our beloved nation.
“This bold step we took will help to build the confidence of investors, owners of enterprises in the zones and prospective investors alike in our management of the free zone scheme,’’ he said.
He commended Federal Government’s efforts in establishing six special economic zones in Lagos, Ilorin, Katsina, Benue, Gombe and Sokoto within seven years.
According to Adesugba, the new security structure is already providing the zones with surveillance and intel.
“Others are physical security, and procedural checks on documentations to abate economic sabotages.
“We have come to decorate these officers with their ranks and also to unveil them to the investing public and to the Nigeria public as a mark of our resolve to open up the scheme for sustainable global business exchanges and competition,’’ Adesugba said.
The NEPZA boss said that the officers were trained between May 23 and June 23 at the State Security Service Academy, Lagos.
On his part, Sen. Francis Fadahunsi, the Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Trade and Investment, said that the establishment of the security unit was in conformity with international best practice.
He pledged National Assembly’s commitment to carry out legislations that would improve the concept.
Fadahunsi appealed to the officers to carry out their task professionally, saying that without security, no meaningful investment would thrive.
The Joint Projects Monitoring Committee of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) and the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) have concluded the inspection of 112 approved projects for the Authority.
Mr Martins Odey, Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA, said this in a statement on Wednesday in Lagos.
According to the statement, the projects captured under the NEPZA Tenders Board of 2017-2021, are located at Calabar Free Trade Zone (CFTZ), Kano Free Trade Zones (KFTZ) and the newly approved Lagos and Kwara Special Economic Zones respectively.
It said out of the 112 ongoing projects, a total of 76 had been completed with the CFTZ accounting for 28; KFTZ 38; Lekki SEZ 5; and Ilorin SEZ 5, while others were at different levels of completion.
Some of the projects, the statement said included: erosion control works and rehabilitation of collapsed perimeter fence, construction of emergency exit gates and access road to the jetties and re-asphalting of the exiting dual carriageway road network at CTFZ.
Others are: consulting services for master plan and architectural design; consulting services for engineering and infrastructure design; quantity surveying for feasibility studies at Kwara SEZ; and the development of initial 5MW power plant and electrical reticulation within the Ilorin SEZ.
“They also include: construction of roads with associated drainage work at KFTZ; construction of four standard size factory building and associated external works at KFTZ.
“Also is the purchase of property at No.38 Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos; and the re-furbishing and furnishing of the newly acquired NEPZA new Lagos zonal office among others,” it said.
The statement quoted Hajia Zainab Aliyu, Director of Monitoring and Compliance, NEPZA, expressing satisfaction with the level of projects execution across the four zones during the tour in Calabar, Aliyu added that the Federal Government had always ensured value-for-money in the execution of its contracts.
She said the approval for the inspection of the projects indicated government’s priority toward adequate provision of infrastructure in the free trade zones.
She added that the development showed the commitment of the Prof. Adesoji Adesugba led-management to the interpretation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s policy for a profitable and competitive zone scheme.
“As part of the statutory responsibility of NEPZA as provided in Section 4 of the Authority’s Act 63 of 1992 is the provision that ensures that all zones provide some of the basic infrastructure.
“We are also obliged to constantly monitor and evaluate both new and old infrastructure.
“The reasons for these monitoring and evaluation exercises were to ensure the right quality of materials were used and the right quality of jobs are done, just as we also checked the percentage of work done in line with the amount assigned for the project.
“The Authority has, however, decided to carry out the task jointly with our supervising Ministry, which is the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and so far, we were encouraged by the progress of executions,” she said.
Mr Martins Odeomenem, Director of Procurement, FMITI, explained that the projects approved through the Ministerial Tenders Board had been completed.
“It is not all about awarding contracts and executing contracts; there is also the need for every office that has the duty of awarding contracts to know that government is seriously after value-for-money.
“NEPZA abhors shoddy execution of its projects because of the strategic nature of the free zones in attracting foreign investment.
“We have gone around and I can say with all sense of responsibility that we are satisfied with what we have met on ground,” he said.
Hon. Richard Gbande, Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Commerce, at the Kano tour, expressed satisfaction with how the authority had managed the special economic ecosystem, describing it as a vital economic gateway that should fast track the industrialisation of the Northern region.
Gbande explained that the zone was lucrative going by the presence of 75 enterprises functioning night and day to increase production for the country’s highly competitive markets.
“We are sure production and competition among the enterprises in the zone would increase significantly if the Federal Government finally divests its equity to the private sector as planned,” he said.
The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) said it would partner Binance and Talent City to establish the first virtual free zone in West Africa.
Prof Adesoji Adesugba, NEPZA’s Managing Director, said this in a statement signed by Mr Martins Odey, Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA.
According to the statement, Adesugba said the partnership was necessary after holding meetings with officials of the two firms on Friday in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Adesugba explained that the partnership when agreed would birth a virtual free zone similar to the one in Dubai.
The NEPZA boss presented the vision of his management, which centred on expanding frontiers of innovations in the operations and management of free zones in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
“We seek to break new grounds to widen economic opportunities for our citizens in line with the mandate of the authority, the directive of the honourable minister and the economic development agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Our goal is to engender a flourishing virtual free zone to take advantage of a near trillion dollar virtual economy in blockchains and digital economy,” Adesugba said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Binance is a global digital, blockchain finance services firm operating worldwide.
The company was represented at the parley by Nadeem Ladki, its Executive Director, Regional Strategic Partnerships and Sameera Kimatrai, Binance Senior Legal Counsel.
Also in attendance were Luqman Edu, Chief Executive of Talent City and Engr Sikiru Lawal, NEPZA’s Director of Projects and Procurement.
Counting the gains of Free Trade Zones concessioning
Counting the gains of Free Trade Zones concessioning
By Martins Odeh, News Agency of Nigeria
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has given leverage to all countries in the continent to diverse their business catchments.
Many countries have done this through strengthening their Free Trade Zones (FTZs) and for now, free trade zones are springing up everywhere in Africa.
Stakeholders say that Nigeria must be concerned about competition from Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Benin Republic, Ghana and Togo, where huge investments have been committed to free trade zones development.
Undoubtedly,the recent decision of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) to concession the Calabar and Kano FTZs remains government’s best economic approach to accelerate Nigeria’s industrialisation agenda.
The primary purpose of a free trade zone is to remove from a seaport, airport, or border those hindrances to trade caused by high tariffs and complex customs regulations.
Among the advantages of the system are the quicker turnaround of ships and planes through the reduction in formalities of customs examinations and also the ability to fabricate, refinish, and store goods freely.
A road show was recently held in Lagos on the planned concession of the two public export processing zones.
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, Managing Director of NEPZA, said the planned handshake with the would-be concessionaires would positively impact on the operation of the 30-year-old public facilities for global competition.
“The two zones are highly viable because of many reasons, including their vital locations, easy access to raw materials, seaports, airports, outside infrastructure, labour and more importantly the boisterous nature of the two commercial cities.
“The Authority is, therefore, available to support and assist the new owners, to speedily surmount challenges that may come with taking up the management of this kind of business.
“I want to assure the private sector and particularly, companies that are set to file their bids, to count themselves lucky because of the great requisite return on investment the facilities will be offering,’’ he said.
Adesugba added that the scheme offered complete tax holiday from all federal, state and local government taxes, rates, customs duties and levies.
He said the duty-free on import of capital goods, consumer goods, machinery, equipment and furniture were guaranteed, adding that the scheme also permitted 100 per cent foreign ownership of investments.
The NEPZA chief executive said duty on exports into the customs territory was calculated on the value of originally imported component raw materials and not on the value of finished goods.
He added that the scheme provided opportunity to export items on Nigeria’s import prohibition list, provided that it could be proven that at least 35 per cent value had been added to promote local content.
“The scheme offers permission to sell 100 per cent of manufactured, assembled or imported goods into the domestic market and it guarantees 100 per cent repatriation of capital and profit.
“It was imperative for the private sector to now leverage on these incentives as the scheme allows them to ride on the AfCFTA framework to freely access the continent’s huge market,” he said.
Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, said the unrelenting efforts of the National Council on Privatisation had made the process leading to the concession of the two zones seamless so far.
The minister said that the decision to privatise them was hinged on the Federal Government’s preparedness to produce world-class free zones that the country could use to solve some of its economic challenges.
“Government’s stance to allow for a transparent process that would bring up virile concessionaires, with the right capacity, expertise and finance to convert the zones to national economic asset, capable of generating employment for the teeming youth and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is topmost.
” Mr Alex Okoh, Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), said the concession model to be used would be that of “build, rehabilitate, operate and handover,’” over a period.
He added that the Lagos road-show was part of the process leading to the final concession of the two facilities by December.
Before the road show, Adesugba had reiterated the commitment of NEPZA to live up to its mandate by providing wider business corridor for investors to access the country’s free trade zones.
He spoke when the staff union members of the authority staged a peaceful demonstration to support his efforts in transforming NEPZA.
Adesugba, who emphasised on the need to explore the benefits provided by the free trade zones to grow Nigeria’s economy, said it was critical in view of the need to revolutionise the economy.
He said that revival and optimum utilisation of the free trade zones would lead the economic revolution needed in the country.
According to him, free trade zones have revolutionised economies all over the world, and we must give it the needed support.
“The free zones in Lagos axis; you should go to Kano and you will see the infrastructure within the city and the free zone is going to metamorphose into something else shortly.
“We are going to revamp Calabar, all the dead factories that are there and we are going to push in new investments and new capital into Calabar.
“The new zones that are coming up are the only thing that will galvanise Nigeria in such a way that we have not seen before in terms of employment, technology transfer and inflow of capital,’’ he said.
He said that exploring the free trade zones would also position Nigeria better for the benefits provided by African continental free trade regime.
“It is important to understand that Nigeria is going to have serious competition.
“Free zones are opening up in Benin, Togo, Ghana and there is a huge one being built in Egypt all targeted at African markets and Nigeria owes a substantial part of that market.
“And if we don’t brace up, our unemployment will deepen.
“So, we need to take advantage of what is happening now,’’ he said.
Even the Business Facilitation Bill, approved by the Federal Executive Council was designed to boost the economy.
Dr Jumoke Oduwole, the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, said the approval was in line with the Federal Government‘s commitment to improving the business environment in Nigeria through legislative interventions.
She said the omnibus bill was aimed at amending specific laws relating to ease of doing business and embodying such amendments into single legislation to act as a catalyst for legislative reform of the Nigerian business climate.
Oduwole said the provisions of NEPZA Act and CAMA were reconciled to recognise the exemption of free trade zone companies licensed by NEPZA from company registration.
“With the amendment of the Export (Prohibition) Act, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning will now have clear cut powers to recommend goods that should be restricted from being exported.
“This will encourage flexibility in terms of prohibited products and prohibition scope, allowing them to align with economic realities at any given time,’’ she said.
With over about 42 active zones and about 500 companies in the zones, concessioning will ultimately boost NEPZA’s attainment of its mandate spelt out in NEPZA Act 63 of 1992. With sustained proactive programmes like the concessioning, the cumulative investment in 30 years, put at about $20 billion, according to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, only 25, 000 jobs generated against the scheme’s projected capacity for 300, 000 direct jobs would be surpassed.
(NANFeatures) ** If used, please credit the writer as well as the News Agency of Nigeria
The House of Representatives Committee on Commerce has described the process to concession the Calabar Free Trade Zone (CFTZ) as a positive approach to unleash the full potentials of the zone and significantly boost the country’s economy.
Rep. Richard Gbande, Deputy Chairman of the committee, said this when he led members on an inspection tour of the zone in Calabar.
A statement issued on Thursday by Martins Odeh, Head, Corporate Communications, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), reported Gbande as saying that it would stimulate industrialisation and economic growth.
The lawmaker, representing Katsina- Federal Constituency of Benue State, explained that the public must understand reason the Federal Government adopted the free trade zone scheme.
According to him, it was basically aimed at encouraging industrialisation and promoting economic growth.
He, however, said that the scheme required a long period of sustained funding to yield any significant benefit to the country.
Gbande further said that NEPZA had so far performed well within its limited resources, adding that the impact of the scheme had reflected positively on the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
“We are in the Calabar Free Trade Zone to see the progress the business ecosystem is making and I can say that NEPZA has done well so far for keeping the country’s pioneer free zone intact and working.
“The committee has noticed some of the challenges which include outside infrastructure and the dredging of the Calabar port.
“In spite of these challenges, the enterprises, most of which are foreign companies, are still functioning and helping to provide employment for the locals as well as serving the markets.
’’ he said.
Gbande explained that the zone would be brought to the required optimal level of competitiveness when handed over to private investors.
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, the Managing Director of NEPZA, expressed delight on President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment and support in revamping the scheme to meet international standards.
The NEPZA boss restated Federal Government’s commitment to ensure stable electricity supply to the Calabar and Kano free trade zones, adding that the recent blackout in the Calabar zone had been addressed.
Adesugba said government’s approval of funds for the development of infrastructure at the two public zones and two other new ones, was an indicator of the president’s commitment to reposition the scheme.
According to him, the Authority has continued the execution of the power and other projects in Kano, Calabar, the Textile and Garment Park as well as the Medical Special Economic Zone in Lagos.
“Already, works are ongoing in these areas as infrastructure development remains the bait that can attract investors to the zones.
’’ Adesugba said,
An Ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives has given the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) a seven-day ultimatum to reconcile its account or pay N13.3 billion into the federation account.
NEPZA declared, however, that it did not owe the federation account any money and that the money being demanded was a miscalculation by a consultant engaged to look into its accounts.
The House of Representatives committee on the Recovery of Unclaimed Funds Trapped in Commercial Banks between 2013 and 2021 issued its ultimatum at a public hearing in Abuja on Tuesday.
Chairman of the committee, Rep. Uyime Idem (PDP-Akwa Ibom) said it had given NEPZA more than enough time to reconcile its account and that it would not hesitate to force NEPZA to comply.
He explained that the law required the agency to pay 80 per cent of its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) into government coffers.
The lawmaker said available documents in the committee’s possession suggested that NEPZA was yet to remit N13.3 billion into the federation account.
Responding to the charge, however, Director, Finance at NEPZA, Dr Oyeshola Oyekunle said that the agency did not owe the Federal Government.
He explained that within the period, the agency remitted N3.92 billion into the federation account instead of N2.3 billion.
The director said that the excess resulted from a circular from the Ministry of Finance mandating the agency to pay 25 per cent of its operating surplus into government covers.
Oyekunle argued that the N13.3 billion being demanded was not properly calculated saying that the consultants that prepared the documents, considered personnel cost as IGR.
He said that he had made several efforts to meet with the consultants but they had always been out of reach.
The committee adjourned ruling on the issue to Thursday, Sept. 1. In a related development, the committee mandated the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) to present evidence of its annual financial reports between 2013 and 2021. It also requested PTAD to provide treasury receipts stating the sums remitted or evidence of “mop-ups’’ of unspent surpluses between 2013 and 2021 and any other relevant document.
Paper can be Nigeria’s second oil once revitalised – CEO, FAE Envelope
From left: Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, MD, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority(NEPZA); Iyalode Alaba Lawson, former National President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA; Asiwaju Michael Olawale-Cole, President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Mrs Layo Okeowo-Bakare, , FAE Ltd; Chief Ide Udeagbala, National President, NACCIMA and Mr Adeleke Adeleye, COO, FAE Ltd during tChief Executive Officer, FAE Envelopes, Mrs Layo Bakare-Okeowo, on Wednesday said that paper industry could equate oil revenue generation for Nigeria if revived and maximally exploited using backward integration policy.
Bakare-Okeowo made the assertion at the company’s facility tour by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and the Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) in Lagos.
According to her, the paper industry, which she referred to as a gold-mine, will generate more foreign exchange, tackle unemployment, and contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The FAE boss, however, stated the need for a functional paper mill in the country and the proper implementation of backward integration policy to ensure ease of access to raw materials for production.
She quoted that the sum of five million dollars was enough to create paper mills cluster to drive the sector to full potential for the country’s sufficient use and for exports.
She also called for more support to the sector to engender more research in pulp and paper as well as capacity building to develop the industry.
“Billions of dollars is what is being expended to import paper into the country, meanwhile, God has blessed us with so much raw materials that can be transformed into making paper.
“We have the Kenaf specie for paper production with a gestation period of six months against that of wood that it’s gestation is about 12 years.
“Also, waste products, bamboo, sugar cane, jute leaves popularly called ‘ewedu’ are all raw materials that can be transformed to paper with a quick turn around time for investment.
“Once all these are in place, the future of the Nigeria paper industry is endless and could become self sufficient and also begin to export both in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and globally,” she said.
Bakare-Okeowo said that in spite of the obvious challenges with the operating environment, her passion to drive Nigeria’s industrialisation agenda to fruition was part of what had sustained the envelope business for over forty years.
She reiterated the company’s commitment to becoming more innovative in its drive to secure contents of envelopes, saying that the company had in its pipeline, a fireproof envelope.
“With the elections coming soon, there is need for tamper proof envelope which is water resistant and can be used to secure votes once sealed.
“Again, the future of paper is endless and we hope that the government can do what is necessary to drive the sector to its full potential seeing that Egypt has 25 functional paper mills,” she said.
President, LCCI, Dr Michael Olawale-Cole, reiterated the chamber’s interest in the success of all manufacturing companies at the heart of its operations.
He called for continued amiable relationship to drive Nigeria’s industrialisation agenda for all round growth and prosperity of the nation’s economy.
Ude John Udeagbala, President, NACCIMA, advocated the need for proper succession planning for businesses in Nigeria to engender sustainability.
Also, Mr Adesoji Adesugba, Managing Director, Nigeria Exports Processing Zones Authority(NEPZA), charged players in the paper industry to take advantage of the Free Trade Economic Zones across the country.
This, he said, would enable industries enjoy the maximum incentives such as duty free imports at the free trade zones.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that over 400 million metric tonnes of paper is being imported into the country annually.
In spite of the current global digitalisation, paper continues to be important for job creation, forestry, and education and literacy.
The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has urged Ondo Chamber of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture (ONDOCIMA) to establish a special agro-allied district.
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, Managing Director of NEPZA, said that it was critical in promoting the production and processing of agricultural produce for export.
A statement issued on Friday in Abuja by Martins Odeh, Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA, said that Adesugba made the appeal when the new executive of the chamber visited him on Thursday in Abuja.
According to him, the chamber must become active partner in the economic development of Ondo State by establishing the special agro-allied district.
The NEPZA boss, who said that chamber movement was aimed at galvanising sound economic development, added that ONDOCIMA was set up to make indelible and positive economic impact in the state.
“The chamber must constitute itself as an active development partner of the state by making itself an economic springboard in the state.
“This can happen speedily if a special agro-allied district for backward linkages in the production and processing of agricultural produce can be established.
“The new executive must begin to contemplate on securing large expanse of land in the state to establish this project as the enclave help to provide jobs and variety of businesses for members and residents of the state.
“Ondo State is blessed with arable land, suitable for all-year-round- farming.
The association can also reserve a substantial portion of the proposed district for the production of cocoa which the state has comparative advantage on,’’ Adesugba said.
He explained that pioneer members of the state branch of the association had plans of having such a special agric site and other businesses as well.
Adesugba, however, said that a number of extraneous factors had made the dream unrealisable.
“The chamber can only record good successes if it is less dependent on government.
The leadership must activate interest and expertise of the members in order to achieve the set goals,’’ Adesugba said.
He also said that the association could become more potent and resulted-oriented if it regularly underwent projects’ assessment visitations to other sister associations.
“Members would use such tours for business knowledge acquisition and investment promotion exchanges,” he said.
Adesugba further said that NEPZA was prepared to partner the association in developing business templates that would make it become investment forerunner in the state.
The NEPZA boss also explained that the Akoko Chamber of Commerce, an adjunct of ONDOCIMA was a testament of years of striving to ensure that most local communities in the state were linked to the Organised Private Sector (OPS).
President of ONDOCIMA, Olugbenga Araoyinbo, said that Adesugba had continually proven that his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari to led the movement of industrialising the country through the Free Trade Zone scheme was useful.
He, however, explained that the new executive of the association had opened a new chapter in the administration of the chamber movement in the state.
Araoyinbo said that the association was prepared to join forces with the government in growing the economy.
“We are indeed grateful for the suggestion that the association establishes an agro-allied district where our members and investors can be involved in mechanised farming and processing of farm produce for local use and export.
“The association will in this light collaborate with NEPZA, our national body, the state government and investors to ensure that this plan is brought to fruition,’’ Araoyinbo said.