Nigeria’s Aviation Ministry highlights benefits of designating major airports as special economic zones

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According to the Ministry of Aviation, the designation of four international airports in Nigeria as special economic zones will help harness the socio-economic benefits of aviation, generate revenue for the government, and open avenues for attracting local and foreign direct investment for the overall growth of the economy.

The Ministry made this known in a statement issued by James Odaudu, Director of Public Affairs, Ministry of Aviation, who emphasized the need to highlight the inherent benefits of the designation and operation of the airports as special economic zones.

Recently, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika announced the designation of four international Airports, the Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Port-Harcourt International Airport, and the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airports as special economic zones following an approval granted by President Muhammadu Buhari to that effect.

As a part of its efforts to address the issues concerning taxation, customs duties, and fiscal issues in the Nigerian Aviation industry, the ministry has requested that the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) designate the four major international airports under NEPZA acts.

“The request was made in order to permit all airlines, airport operators, aviation support companies, etc. that reside within the zones approved by the President to benefit from them.

Apart from harnessing the socioeconomic benefits of civil aviation, generating revenues for the government and opening new avenues for foreign direct investment, this designation will also attract more international and domestic airlines, and world-class organizations, into the Nigerian Aviation Industry thereby fast-tracking the upgrade and development of new infrastructure/facilities at the airports.

The Special Economic Zones would also lower the tax burden on aviation companies so they could compete internationally and create a more efficient and business-friendly trade environment around the airports with less bureaucratic red tape as a result of the associated fiscal incentives and packages.

“The operation of the airports as special economic zones would also help to generate employment opportunities and human capital development, improve the overall ease of doing business in Nigeria which is in line with Federal Government’s commitments towards national economic development.

“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).

The Minister of Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika, therefore, appeals for the cooperation of all relevant stakeholders in the new development in order to achieve the desired goals.

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