The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, yesterday stated that plans are under way to ensure that Special Economic Zones would help reduce the tax burden on aviation companies.
This he noted would enable them to compete internationally and create around the airports a more efficient and business-friendly trade environment comparable to other countries.
To this end, the minister requested the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) to designate the four major international airports under NEPZA Act.
Sirika in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja by the Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu, yesterday highlighted the inherent benefits of the designation and operation of the airports as special economic zones.
According to the statement, "Recently, the Minister of Aviation, 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.
"The announcement followed the approval granted by President Muhammadu Buhari to that effect. The Ministry of Aviation in its desire to address issues concerning taxation, custom duties and fiscal issues in the Nigerian aviation industry which require a holistic solution, had requested the 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."
It further stated: "Some of the benefits include harnessing the socio-economic benefits derivable from civil aviation, generating revenues for government and creating avenues to mobilise local and foreign direct investment for the overall growth of the economy.
"The designation is also expected to attract more international and domestic airlines and world class organisations into the Nigerian aviation industry, thereby fast-tracking the upgrade and development of new infrastructure/facilities at the airports."
It disclosed that the special economic zones would also help to reduce the tax burden on aviation companies to enable them compete internationally and create around the airports a more efficient and business-friendly trade environment comparable to other countries, with less bureaucratic red tape because of the associated fiscal incentives and packages.