Exporters decry absence of functional trade zones

Tin Can Island port, Apapa09 March 2014, Lagos – Nigerian exporters have blamed the under investment of exportable products on the absence of functional trade zones for non-oil products in the country.

The exporters said in Abuja that pricing, loading and evacuation of export-bound goods should be given special consideration.

The exporters said that a situation where a number of importers and import based companies were allotted concessions at the expense of exporters could negate the Federal Government’s transformation drive.

Mr Aliku Joshua, Chief Executive Officer of Crown Magnet Nig. Ltd., said that the step toward building cargo airports in some parts of the country could be a great service to boosting export businesses.

Joshua said, “the export business is capital intensive and therefore, players must be assisted at every point because we are the ones that strive toward ensuring balance of trade for the country. This is not to say that we are not presently enjoying a measure of incentives. In fact, we currently enjoy 100 percent free tax on some goods, but the government must widen the horizon to allow for greater investment,” he said.

Chief Ignatius Kolawole, the Managing Director of Clout Trading Enterprise, said that the high cost of production in the country was affecting the trade.

According to him, infrastructure deficit and inadequate electricity are impediments that have retarded the capacity of the Nigerian exporters to compete favourably with those of other countries.

“The other factor working against us is the absence of acceptable world standard measurement for the country. Our products are often underpriced as a result of this,” Kolawole said.

However, Chief Eze Maduka, another exporter said “I have particularly benefited from exporting the Nigerian electricity cable to other countries, especially America and Europe. That cable remains one of the country’s best and efforts should be geared toward producing quality items for us to export.

“Touting and port congestion were negative variables associated with the trade, so the government should work harder to stop the trends,” he said. Mr Udo Etteh, an economist, however, said the export businesses could save revenue if the tariff on a final product is lower than the tariff on the raw materials used to manufacture the product. Etteh said that businesses could also save revenue if they did not have to pay tariffs on raw materials lost during production due to waste factors.

The Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) allows 100 percent exemption from Value Added Tax (VAT) and Withholding Tax for some export goods.

According to him, NEPZA also offers 100 percent incentive for both foreign ownership of investments and repatriation of foreign capital investment as well as profits and dividends at any time, among others.

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