The students of Junior Division Course 7 of the Customs Command and Staff College, Gwagwalada, Abuja, have toured Lagos Deep Offshore Logistic (LADOL) Free Zone to understudy operations of free trade zones, according to a statement issued by LADOL.
Captain S.O Abduraheem, Chief Instructor/Training Assistance Team, who led the students, said the 18-member team was on a research mission regarding the operations of the Nigerian Customs Services and the agencies they collaborate with.
Capt. Abduraheem who described the Zone as a success said “It was a warm reception, a lot of enlightening, lectures and presentations were given and a lot of questions we had have all been answered. I am sure the students will find all the information given beneficial in their research work and of course in their careers as they go forward.
“We can see that LADOL’s success is based on its operating plans, which they had since they the beginning. They [LADOL] needs to do more so more people know who they are.’’
A senior representative of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Mr. Hamisu Musa Ahmed, explained to the visitors that NEPZA promotes and facilitates local and international investment in Nigeria noting that the agency enjoys a seamless and healthy relationship with other relevant government agencies such as Customs and Immigration. He also confirmed that LADOL Free Zone is compliant and works well with NEPZA.
Assistant Manager NEPZA LADOL Free Zone, Vivian Sheriff Ighomaro, who made a presentation to the students, explained that Free Zones in Nigeria are the modality nations are using today to drive rapid economic growth.
“A Free Trade Zone is an industrial area within a geographical location of a country for fiscal exceptions and other activities. Commercial export activities are encouraged in that area and it is a country within a country and the Customs activities in the Free Zones are based on NEPZA Law and the particular Zone’s regulations”
“A Free Zone is a specialised area usually in an enclave usual demarcated where we have enabling business regulations and rules to ensure the drive for economic development and growth is achieved,” she said.
Commenting on the activities of NEPZA, Ighomaro said is a Federal Government agency that was established by Act 63 of 1992, NEPZA has the responsibility to licence, promote, and to establish Free Trade Zones across Nigeria.”
While speaking, the Managing Director of LADOL, Dr. Amy Jadesimi said that the success of LADOL and the ability of the Zone to strategically support a wide range of industries is due to the Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) Free Zone platform. Since the Zone was designated in 2006 NEPZA has provided an enabling environment, which we understand the FGN is now replicating across the country. LADOL, as is the case with all NEPZA Free Zones, operates within the ambit of established rules and regulations of NEPZA. NEPZA also brings other agencies into the Free Zone, including, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA and Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, and other relevant government agencies.
“When Free Zones are established, each Free Zone has a Free Zone gazette. So, there are gazetted rules and regulations, there is a LADOL Free Zone Gazette, but the Gazette is created by NEPZA, approved by them, and handed down to the zone.
There is a very strict framework in place and the Free Zone Management company is responsible for ensuring that the NEPZA rules and regulations as per the Gazette are adhered to on the ground in the Zone. There is also a NEPZA office in each Zone where the Management Company reports to NEPZA”, she said.
Dr. Amy added that as part of the regulations, all of the zone enterprises and the management company are restricted from having direct contact with any government agency.
“For the zone to interact with government agencies, we have to go through NEPZA. This means that NEPZA brings customs into the zone and the management company is responsible for making sure that customs is accommodated in the location directed.” Other members of the team included the Assistant Comptroller of Customs, Ike Ede who also doubles as Chief Instructor Junior Division Course 7; and Chief Superintendent of Customs, AE Baba Gana.