NEPZA accuses Customs, NAFDAC of becoming impediments to agro-exports

The Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) has accused some government agencies of constituting impediments to successful import and export business in the country.

NEPZA accused the Nigerian Quarantine Service (NQS), National Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS) and others of mounting extortion roadblocks, harassment of exporters and introducing multiple illegal charges on export goods, costing the country about $250 billon on agro-export produce.

The agency said 11 of the 16 sundry charges imposed by Customs, NAFDAC, NQS and NIS on goods earmarked for exports are illegal, stressing that unbridled extortion have caused international cargo airlines to prefer flying out of Nigeria empty.

The Managing Director of NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba made this known in his presentation, “Aviation & Cargo Export in Nigeria,” at the 2nd Edition of Aviation and Cargo Conference.

Adesugba, who was represented by Assistant Director, Investor Promotion, Augustine Onyekwere said, “Among the 16 sundry charges tracked for goods coming in or departing the country via airports, only five are officially recognised. Nigeria’s import-to-export airfreight ratio imbalance stood at 87:13 from available statistics. The implication according to cargo agencies is loss of at least about $250 billon on agro-export produce to the country.”

He identified other challenges to include lack of modern infrastructure, lack of corporate governance, policy and regulation, high cost of aviation fuel, inadequate funding, high cost of operation, insecurity, insurance and corruption.

He said in order to support the aviation industry and stimulate multiplier effects in the economy, the Federal Government in May 2021 designated the four major international airports (Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt) as Special Economic Zones (SEZ) to enable the companies operating at these airports enjoy the benefits of the free zone scheme.

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