Free Trade Zones Contributes N29bn Tax In 2 Years – NEZA
The Nigeria Economic Zones Association (NEZA) has said the special economic zones in the country are not used for tax evasion but a source of gaining more revenue through custom duties and VAT than Corporate Income Tax.
Recall that the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, Oluwole Oke, had recently said more companies are moving to free zones established by the Nigerian Export Processing Free Zones Authority (NEPZA) and the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) to avoid paying taxes.
But in a statement, the Executive Secretary of NEZA, Toyin Elegbede, described the assertion as false and deliberate misinformation.
Elegbede noted that companies within the zones operate either as enterprises or service providers and pay their taxes as the laws provide, stating that Nigeria earns huge amounts from indirect taxes accruable from the Free Zones.
“In fact, Nigeria gains more from Free Zones via customs duties and VAT than Corporate Income Tax. It is a fact that at national level, VAT and customs duties are major revenue items. In 2020, despite COVID-19 issue, the Nigerian Customs Service, Apapa Command, under which the Free Zones in Lagos falls, generated over N13bn as customs duties while over N16bn was generated in 2021. In fact, the Customs service rakes in over N1bn every month in the Free Zones on Lagos axis alone. Where the lawmaker got his false data on tax returns is not clear.”
He explained that the concept of special economic zones operates under a regulatory framework duly enacted into law which provides for the regulatory bodies known as NEPZA and OGFZA to licence both the Free Zones and enterprises operating within them.
“We urge Hon. Oke to be mindful of how hurtful his campaign of misinformation is to the efforts of the federal government to attract foreign direct investment into the country. As at the beginning of 2022, over $25 billion dollars investment with more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs has been attracted through the free zone scheme.”