Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, Managing Director, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has waded into workers’ agitation over alleged attempt to undermine its legal status by a Technical Working Group’s report.
The outcome of the alleged investigation by the constituted committee by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment was titled “Draft Report Performance Evaluation of Free Trade Zones (FTZs) Licensees’’.
Adesugba made the remarks at a weekly parley with the staff of the Headquarters on Wednesday in Abuja, according to a statement by Mr Martins Odeh, Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA.
Responding to the workers’ fears and agitations on the report, Adesugba explained that it was important to realise that NEPZA was a creation of Act 63 of 1992 of the National Assembly.
According to him, the reformation of NEPZA is definitely not within the competence of NEPZA’s management.
The Managing Director further explained that the Authourity was aware that there had been discussions on the remodelling of government agencies for efficiency from the time of Steve Oransaye’s Panel recommendations.
“These discussions as far as we are aware are still ongoing and no decisions have been made nor the enabling laws to effect such changes enacted.
“With respect to the said report of the committee from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, such report has not been officially communicated to NEPZA.
“At the right moment, the position of NEPZA will be conveyed by its board to the appropriate authorities,’’ he said.
The NEPZA boss, however, urged the workers and the local branch of the labour union, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), to exercise restraints.
According to him, it will be good to avoid sending wrong signals to both operators of zones and enterprises operating in the zones.
NEPZA is a creation of Act 63 of 1992 with the sole regulatory power to license, manage and supervise the country’s Free Trade Zone Scheme.
The mandate of the agency is to galvanise the country’s earmarked ecosystem to drive industrialisation.
This onerous task also includes job creation, attraction of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), Local Direct Investment (LDI) and revenue generation among others.
Since inception, the Authority has within its limited resources managed the scheme that has arguably resulted in significant contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.