The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), says it is focused on scaling up the authority’s compliance level in ethics and governance in line with Federal Government specifications on ease of business.
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, NEPZA Managing Director made the remark on Wednesday in Abuja while inaugurating a 14-man Freedom of Information (FOI) Act Committee.
A statement by Mr Martins Odeh, NEPZA`s Head, Corporate Communications , said Adesugba said the committee would interface with the public on behalf of the organisation on issues bordering granting of information by Section 2 of FOI Act.
The NEPZA boss said it was expected that the new development would place the authority on integrity weighing scale, adding that the move would also enhance transparency, integrity, accountability, and due process.
“Presently, the Authority has against it two pending lawsuits for inadvertently failing to respond to demands for information by the litigants, just as we have numerous such requests that are yet to be treated.
“I am calling on those who instituted the lawsuits to withdraw same following our moves to do things differently. I also plead with those whose requests are yet to be processed to bear with us.
“I have gone through the FOI Act, and I can see that the Act can easily be breached because of the limited number of days one is expected to respond, but we must comply with the law.
“The committee will henceforth be responsible for the receiving and processing of requests within the stipulated period of seven days.
“I am seeking an understanding of the public as we are prepared to do things differently to ensure full compliance with the FOI Act,’’ he said.
He said upon his resumption, he visited the Nigeria Investment and Promotion Commission that had always ranked high in ethics and governance compliance to adapt their template, and beat them to it in a short time.
The managing director noted that static NEPZA’s website would equally be redesign to give room for more information to be put out.
He said the public was always eager to know about the accounting procedure, budgeting, procurement process, contracts bidding process and such other aspects that can likely heighten public incredulity.
“The public has the right to know what we do here,’’ Adesugba said.
He said the committee members would be trained to increase their capacities in tracking information within the system, adding that talks were underway with the Ethics and Governance Institute, Ministry of Justice to build their capacities.
In a related development, the NEPZA boss had tasked the authority’s branch of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN to join forces with the management in delivering on the agency’s mandate.
Adesugba, in a meeting with Mr Samari Yakubu-led executive to discuss the challenges and prospects of the organization, explained that the union must redirect its focus from “combative” to “developmental” unionism.
He added that the agency had a primary mandate of stimulating production, creating jobs, generating revenues, generating Foreign Direct Investment and industrialising the country.
Adesugba further said he was strategically laying a foundation for the establishment of some specialised free zones in the non-oil sector with medical and agricultural products with robust value chains that could re-energise the economy.
He said that staff welfare would be given serious attention as doing so, would enhance productivity and industrial harmony.
Yakubu, had expressed delight on the appointment of Adesugba as the authority’s substantive managing director, stating that his enviable track records in public and private sectors had automatically endeared him to the staff.
He explained that Adesugba’s years of experience in free zone conception, investment promotion and management positioned him as the right person to reposition the organisation, adding that the union has unflinching commitment toward his success.