Four international airports have been designated as Special Economic Zones by the federal government.
Capt. Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, made the announcement in a statement released by Mr James Odaudu, the Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Aviation, in Abuja on Wednesday.
The four airports, according to the minister, are Lagos’ Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Abuja’s Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Port Harcourt’s international airport, and Kano’s Mallam Aminu International Airport.
According to him, the declaration came after President Muhammadu Buhari gave his permission to that effect.
According to him, there are numerous advantages to designating and operating airports as special economic zones.
“The Ministry of Aviation in its desire to address issues concerning taxation, customs duties and fiscal issues in the Nigerian Aviation industry which required a holistic solution, had requested the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) to designate the four major international Airports under NEPZA Act.
“The request was made so that the benefits of such zones can be accorded all airlines, airport operators, Aviation support companies among others that reside within the zones which the President noted, and approved.
“Some of the benefits include; Harnessing the socio-economic benefits derivable from Civil Aviation, generating revenues for Government and creating avenues to mobilize local and foreign direct investment for the overall growth of the economy,” he said.
He went on to say that the classification would attract more international and domestic airlines, as well as world-class organizations, to the Nigerian aviation industry, allowing for the rapid renovation and development of new infrastructure and amenities at airports.
The special economic zones, according to Sirika, will also help to decrease the tax burden on aviation industries, allowing them to compete on a global scale.
He added that the move will create a more efficient and business-friendly trading environment around the airports, equivalent to that of other countries, with less bureaucratic red tape thanks to the related economic incentives and packages.
According to him, operating airports as special economic zones will also aid in the creation of jobs and the development of human capital.
In keeping with the Federal Government’s commitments to national economic development, the minister stated that it will increase the general ease of doing business in Nigeria.
“Another benefit is the generation of additional non-aeronautical sources of revenue for the Aviation Industry. As promised at the inception of the Buhari administration.
“The government remains committed to the development of an investment-friendly Aviation sector that will not only make Nigeria a regional hub for air transportation, but increase its contribution to the national gross domestic product (GDP),” he said.
Sirika urged all essential players in the new development to work together to achieve the desired outcomes.
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