FG suspends issuance of FTZs licences

FG suspends issuance of FTZs licences

The Federal Government has suspended issuance of licences for the operation of Free Trade Zones (FTZs) in the country.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo, announced this during the inauguration of the panel to evaluate the performance of FTZs, on Monday in Abuja.

A statement by the minister’s Special Assistant on Media, Ifedayo Sayo, quoted him as saying that all applications for FTZs licences would not be processed until the completion of the panel’s assignment.

Adebayo said that the key objective of the panel, headed by him, was to make recommendations that would inform government’s strategy on FTZs, based on thorough evaluation of their current operations.

He said that the panel would also work its other terms of reference to provide a clear and detailed report within eight weeks of inauguration.

According to him, the panel, which also has the Minister of State in the ministry, Mariam Katagum, as member, will map out clear strategies to evaluate the operations of the recipients of FTZs licences.

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

He noted that FTZs in the country had not performed up to expectation, especially in terms of impacting positively on the industrial development of the country, as being witnessed in developed nations.

“It is important to note that FTZs in most developed countries have contributed successfully to the countries’ industrialisation 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,” he said.

Adebayo said that Nigeria presently had 33 licensed FTZ operators, adding, however, that only 12 were operational due to poor implementation.

He said that currently, the performance of FTZ licencees had been below expectation, thus heavily impacting on government’s ability to deliver on crucial priority areas.

“Free Trade Zones are key to the nation’s push towards industrialisation. Globally, they account for 68 million jobs and generate 500 billion dollars annually.

“The sector can be extremely lucrative, if executed efficiently, and we must aim to improve the operations of our zones,” he said.

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