NEPZA to Attract Multibillion-Dollar Blockchain Tech Firms to Free Zones

Professor Adesoji Adesugba MD NEPZA and FIRS Executive Chairman in Crucial Engagement to Deepen Collaborations

By JOY ADARA, Abuja –

The Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has said that policymaking to boost new digital technology is underway to open up the free zone space to operators of the big tech companies in the chain. multi-trillion dollar blocks.

Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, Managing Director of NEPZA, said so on Friday during a courtesy visit to the Executive Chairman of the Federal Revenue Inland Services (FIRS), Mr. Mohammed Nami in Abuja.

Adesugba, also the Authority’s chief executive, said NEPZA aims to open up the country’s free trade zone corridor for true global competitiveness.

According to him, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has given leverage to all countries on the continent to diversify their trade basins.

A statement released on Sunday by NEPZA’s Head of Corporate Communications, Martins Odeh, quoted Adesugba as saying, “As we speak, free trade zones are springing up all over Africa. Nigeria must worry about Egyptian competitions; South Africa; Kenya; Republic of Benin ; Ghana; and Togo where huge investments have been made in the development of free trade zones.

“For us, we are doing well with around 500 companies operating in 42 areas across the country, but we need to widen the investment corridor to magnetic operators of blockchain technology which remains the future of the global economy.

“It is time to join the train, otherwise we will recognize our losses in a few years. We are delighted that the Federal Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has recently approved and rolled out e-naira,” the NEPZA boss said.

Experts had opined that the country’s move to approve e-naira was akin to blockchain activity becoming a legitimate disruption in a myriad of industries.

The technology has become so promising that international tech giants are investing millions of dollars in its research.

He further claimed that more than 90% of European and American banks are looking for blockchain options. According to Adesugba, nothing should stop the country from exploiting the multi-trillion dollar sector.

He said that multinational organizations such as JP Morgan, MTN, KFC, Tesla and many more have entered the metaverse digital cryptocurrency and blockchain industry, MTN is said to have purchased 114 metaverse properties recently.

He further explained that the Authority was aware of how technology could revolutionize government; finance; Assurance; and personal identity security, adding that billions of naira could flow back to the federal government as revenue from this ecosystem.

“We hope to soon attract some of the biggest global blockchain companies and exchanges like Binance, Cardano, Crypto.com, Kukoin, Coinbase, and tomb fork protocols based on young algorithms as successful as Darkcrypto; why they should operate in areas of the country,” Adesugba said.

The Managing Director of NEPZA also said that the decision to fully promote blockchain technology hinged on its rapid income turnover rate and the unlimited employment space that the technology offered to the burgeoning youth.

He explained that the country’s tax net would be widened exponentially if the investment comes to life, as according to him, Nigeria is currently ranked 6th in the world in crypto and blockchain trading, especially among young people. .

“So I see no reason why we shouldn’t open up the space and attract much needed capital into the country, when the government benefits from taxes or management fees amounting to billions of naira as it happens. made in countries like Canada and South Africa. .

Adesugba, also said that the Authority is ready to deepen its collaboration efforts with relevant government agencies to accelerate the industrialization of the country, noting that the visit to the FIRS aims to prepare the ground for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at ensuring the guaranteed tax-free regime in the free trade area.

He said the scheme was a global trade policy that exempted operators in the zones from all forms of taxes and duties, however adding that when goods and services from the zones moved into the customs area, they would then be liable to pay the required duty which is not required when exported elsewhere.

“You can see that the country is not losing any revenue as most goods and services from the zones are now imported to the customs zones. The FIRS and customs departments must wait for items from the zones to be brought into the customs area before they can be taxed,’ he said.

Adesugba also explained that it was imperative that the Authority’s key partner agencies to drive the development of the program understand the dynamics of the program.

Nami, for his part, explained that the stage was set for concluding a memorandum of understanding with NEPZA, adding that such an agreement would certainly erase all the negative notions pending between these two important government agencies.

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