By Dada Ahmed.
The Federal Government is preparing the country’s business environment for greater prosperity and wealth circulation as plans are underway to begin the listing of Free Trades Zones and zones’ enterprises on the Nigeria Capital Market.
Dr.Martins Odeh,Head, Corporate Communications, disclosed this in a statement he signed and sent a copy to The Reporters on Thursday.
The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA); Nigeria Economic Zones Association (NEZA) and the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) as well as the Lagos Free Zone (LFZ) are the key establishments involved in this innovation.
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, Managing Director/CEO NEPZA while speaking during a business interface meeting with the Director-General of SEC, Alhaji Lamido Yuguda on Wednesday at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, said that the prosperity and wealth of the free trade zone would be effectively extended to the investing public through the stock market.
Adesugba, explained that the law establishing NEPZA gave it substantial latitude to effect changes that ensured dimensional linkages between the free zone and the Nigerian public for mutual benefits.
“We are not in this alone; it is indeed a synergy between some key agencies of government with the Security and Exchange Commission driving the process in order to grant access to the free trade zone community to trade on the Nigeria Stock Market.
“The best governance structure and framework to drive this innovation is also being worked on. This initiative is a sign of greater things the Authority and the Commission can do together to position the country’s business environment and the stock market for global competitiveness.
“We are, therefore, about to unleash immeasurable wealth, technology and prosperity into the country’s stock market.
“It is our desire to convert the country’s business space into a free trade zone as obtained in Dubai. This is like a first step towards that direction,’’ the NEPZA boss said.
Mr Dinesh Rathi, Managing Director of the Lagos Free Zone (LFZ), said that it was gratifying that the Lagos Free Zone was among the team championing this good course, adding that the move would allow shares of the Lagos Free Zone, Lekki Deep-Sea Port and the 24 enterprises under zone’s supervision available to the public in the future.
“We are, therefore, happy that the Working Group drafting the framework has been given six weeks deadline within which to submit the final draft of the would-be operating framework.
“We need a document that will stand the test of time. This system of linking the free zone with the customs territory using the stock market is not new; we are currently sharing the experiences of Dubai, China and India that have been successful with this,’’ Rathi said.
On his part, Yuguda, expressed delight in the initiative that aimed to pull more players into the stock market net, adding, however, that all grey areas that could act as impediment must be dealt with.
The DG, SEC also said that the commission was interested in the governance structure of the free trade zones enterprises as that was fundamental to the declaration of profits and sharing of dividends.
“On the whole, the commission welcomes this innovation and we must all work hard for it to come to fruition in the shortest possible time.
“ Already, six weeks deadline has been agreed to submit the final draft of the framework and we must work within this period to deliver this big gift to Nigerians,’’ Yuguda said.