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FIRS, NEPZA Sign Agreement On Free Trade Zone

The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) have signed a pact aimed at enhancing a better understanding of the Free Trade Zones Scheme’s tax-exempt index.
The development seeks to end the unbridled suspicion over its implementation over the years.

The Managing Director of NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, said the new tax pact would also put an end to the arbitrary freezing of bank accounts of any of the free zones enterprises or uncontrolled entering of the zones to harass them without permission of the authority and collaborative understanding of the FIRS.

Adesugba, during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the new tax regime in Abuja, however, pointed out that all stakeholders would require a deeper understanding of the importance of the Special Economic Zones scheme and its incentives, adding that such understanding would stimulate the needed competition and development of the scheme.

However, Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mr Muhammad Nami said NEPZA’s mandate in attracting both the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Local Direct Investment placed it as an important agency to drive the country’s industrialisation.

He said the public must appreciate the mandate of the FIRS basically geared toward the collection of revenues to be used by the government for the good of the citizens, adding that the collaboration is required to set the country’s tax records straight.

On her part, Deputy Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service in charge of the Free Trade Zone, Mrs Catherine Ekekezie, expressed delight in the pact struck by the two agencies.

She explained that the perceived misunderstanding of the operations of the zone scheme stemmed from a lack of in-depth knowledge of the laws and regulations that guided the scheme, adding that agencies of government could only work harmoniously when they took time to study sisters’ agencies’ Acts, rules and regulations.

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