Written by Godfrey AKON

NEPZA wants 27-year-old Act amended

The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, NEPZA, says it would pursue amendment of the 27-year-old Act establishing the agency to bring in more investment and create jobs.

Acting Managing Director of NEPZA, Mr Bitrus Dawuk, who disclosed this in chat with newsmen in Abuja, said the amendment of the law was a top priority of his administration.

Dawuk noted that the current NEPZA Act is about 27 years old and was enacted for export processing zones, adding that free zones have become very dynamic with a lot of other variance that the current Act has failed to properly address.

He said he intends to work with the minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo, as well as the National Assembly and other stakeholders to get the Act amended.

According to him, if the act was amended it would bring in a lot of investment in terms of infrastructure and turnaround of the financial sector especially for the free zones.

“We are going to have offshore banking which is a major component of the proposed act; my predecessors had tried to get it off the ground, but due to one challenge or the other were not successful. If I am able to achieve this, all my predecessors would be happy and everybody in the sector would appreciate it.”

While speaking on revenue generated by the free trade zones, Dawuk disclosed that the free zones were there for an enabling environment for investors to come in and set up their manufacturing plants and machineries to produce goods that are mainly for export.

He added that a lot of revenue was generated in different ways one goes straight to the customs account, one to the Authority through CBN.

“Since 2018, NEPZA has not been getting subvention for overhead. We have been sustaining ourselves from the revenue we generate after remitting federal government’s component of 25 per cent to CRF. So NEPZA hopes that with the amended Act, it will be self-sustaining in the next two to three years,” he said.

According to him, since 1992, to 2016, the cumulative allocation to NEPZA was not up to N30 billion, but from 2017 till now, the authority has been getting appropriation of over N40 billion every year.

He noted that the allocation was the result of the transformation in Calabar and Kano free trade zones in terms of infrastructure, roads, warehouses and power.

Dawuk, who assumed duty on December 2019 on Acting capacity further noted that NEPZA opted out of subventions for overhead and would not go back but was seeking to be self-sustaining.

He said a 7-man committee had been set up in December 23, 2019 to look into the issue with ZESCO, adding that Adebayo had said ZESCO was a government project that is good had some mistakes in the approach under the previous administration which he intends to correct.

“I can assure you, the Minister has set up a committee made up of staff in the ministry and staff in NEPZA to work out the modality of how to resolve the ZESCO issue.

According to him, the minister was passionately addressing the issue of infrastructural challenges in Kano and Calabar independent power earlier estimated at N10 billion to carry out successful repairs

 

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