BY Victoria Ojeme
The Kano Free Trade Zone (KFTZ) is a duty free industrial area where goods are brought into, manufactured, reconfigured for transshipment.
As a free trade zone, it is a fertile ground for the influx of foreign direct investments whereby companies can operate free from the provisions of the Nigerian Tax laws, levies, duties and foreign exchange regulations.
The KFTZ is one the investment promotion zones set-up by Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) to allow interested persons to set up industries and businesses at a low cost and tax-free environment, with a major objective of boosting manufacturing and export activities in the country.
It also addresses challenges companies encounter in the areas of infrastructural development, overheads associated with capital intensive ventures, is currently birthing a silent industrial revolution going by the facilities it has attracted in recent times and the increasing number of industries that now hold sway in the area.
The trade zone is also a one-stop approval point for all the permits, operating license and incorporation papers that investors need to start production.
The KFTZ offers lots of benefits to investors including duty free importation of capital goods, machinery, spare parts and other consumables within the zone.
Investment can be completely foreign owned and capital, profits and dividend can be repatriated completely without domestic interference.
At the same time, investors will enjoy waiver of all import and export licenses and waiver of all expatriate quotas.
The enterprise can sell 100 percent of their products to the local market and also, there is rent free land in the first six months of construction in in the Kano Free Trade Zone.
In fact, because of the huge economic activities sprouting at the zone, House of Representatives’ Committee on Industry, Trade and Investment as apart of their parliamentary oversight commended the management of the KFTZ during a recent visit..
The Committee, led by its acting Chairman, Hon. Solomon Bulus, including Hon. Muhtari Chiromawa,
Hon. Muhammadu Bala, among others, lauded the present management of NEPZA for the massive infrastructural development at the KFTZ.
This massive development at the KFTZ was also testified to recently by Hajia Yagana Hassan, General Manager of the Zone.
Hassan said “The Federal Government is now giving much attention to the Zone. Both the 2016 and 2017 budgets have given much attention to the Kano Free Trade Zone in terms of infrastructural development like power, water, road network, investors suites- they have started developing that, and warehouses are being built,” Hajia Yagana Hassan, told newsmen recently.”
Giving insight into the activities of the KFTZ, she said “We are expending huge sums on infrastructure, especially in the area of warehousing, factory building, and water supply. Things are really looking up for the Zone.”
Some of the companies already in operation at the zone cut across the various sectors of the economy include: Nurture All Foods, Coral Integrated, Marshal Biscuits, Afrique Ventures, Afric Packs, and a host of several others.
The commitment of the NEPZA, to ensure funds allocated by the Federal Government are prudently expended, also appears to have won the confidence of private sector investors to leverage on the potentials of the Zone in line with the Federal Government industrialisation’s drive.
Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, immediate past Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, said the strategic importance of the Zone cannot be over-emphasised.
He told newsmen in Abuja recently that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) identifies Special Economic Zones, particularly the one in Kano, as a strategic platform to accelerate the implementation of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan.
“If you visit the economic zones in Kano and Calabar, you will see the level infrastructures that are there and the activities going on,” Enelamah said.
A Chinese company, the Ruyil Group, which has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal Government to invest $2 billion on first ever cotton value chain industry will likely berth on the trade zone.
“Their investment will comprise aggregation and off take of cotton from farmers for ginning, spinning and weaving and manufacturing of at least 300 million meters of African print, which we meet 20 per cent of West Africa demand,” Enelamah, the Trade and Industry’s ex-minister posited.
The renewed quest by the Federal Government to reposition the Kano Free Trade Zone to run on its full capacity and contribute massively to the Gross Domestic Product of the country as obtainable in other climes like Dubai and China, has become a source of delight to the acting Managing Director of NEPZA, Engr Tehermba Nongo.
“Investors confidence in the Zone has never been so high. Standardising our Free Zones by giving them world-class status, especially in the area of infrastructural provision, may be daunting, but with presidential support, NEPZA is proving that where there is will, there will be headway,” Nongo, had said in Abuja, recently.
With the increasing momentum of industrial activities in KFTZ, many experts believe Nigeria will begin to reap massively from the Zone in not too distant future.
And for investors, investing in Nigeria Free zones give access to Africa’s largest consumer market with an excellent location from which the products can be exported to the rest of the world.