At the end of the deliberations, the forum agreed as follows:
1) That as coordinating agencies, the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) should endeavor to have regular briefings with all the relevant government agencies so as to streamline Free Zone operation and to be kept abreast of all burning issues and new development in procedures and the operations in general.
2) That there is a need for automation of operational processes and digitalization of the information in the Free Zones in order to enhance accessibility and competitiveness.
3) That the stakeholders should embrace innovation to increase competitiveness of operators in the Free Zones.
4) That the Honorable Minister of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment should be applauded for his approval to increase Operational License validity to 5 years subject to payment of annual operating license fee.
5) That Nigeria Customs Service should have copies of landing certificates for other stakeholders.
6) That training institutions of Nigeria Customs Service(NCS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), etc., should include the Free Zone scheme in their study curriculum.
7) That all stakeholders, as a matter of urgency, hook up to the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS II) portal.
8) That the Forum should appeal to Central Bank of Nigeria to approve the offshore banking regulations as soon as possible.
9) That for easy access to immigration facilities, the Forum should appeal for a Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Alien Card (CERPAC) printing/processing for the Free Zones within Lagos axis.
10) That no immigration facilities should be processed without regulators’ authentication to avoid abuse of facilities.
11) That Stakeholders should share more information and increase the level of collaboration and interaction.
12) That the Forum applauds the understanding of the Nigeria Customs Service of Free Trade Zone activities and appeals that it considers the resolutions reached on the procedure of calculating duty on products manufactured and assembled in the Free Zones starting from April, 2022 and that Custom Bond is not required in the Free Trade Zones except Bonded Terminals in the Customs Territory.
13) That the forum should advise FIRS, NCS, and NIS to show understanding towards the special incentives available to Free Zone operators.
14) That NIS should be considered to be included in the board of the regulatory Agencies; NEPZA and OGFZA.
15) That henceforth, regulators should extend their sensitization to other stakeholders like Standard Organization of Nigeria, NAFDAC, NCDMB, ITF, State Inland Revenue, City Building Plan Approval and Development Control Agencies, etc.
16) That Stakeholders should collaborate with the leadership of the Nigeria Economic Zones Association to defend and preserve the interest of the Operators.
Done and signed on this day, March 10, 2022.
I. O. Elegbede
Executive Director, NEZ Association