Repeal and amend conflicting laws of our sister agencies, NEPZA MD urges NASS

Speaking on challenges in the agency, he decried conflicts between agencies, such as the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Nigerian Customs Service, and NEPZA. He, however, attributed the conflicts to the obsolete NEPZA Act of 1992.

Repeal and amend conflicting laws of our sister agencies, NEPZA MD urges NASS

Repeal and amend conflicting laws of our sister agencies, nepza md urges nassDr Olufemi Ogunyemi, Managing Director of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has appealed to the National Assembly to empower the agency to position it for optimal performance by repealing and amending the enabling laws setting up NEPZA and its sister agencies.

Ogunyemi said this as he announced that NEPZA generated N6 billion in the last six months as against N8 billion it generated in 2023 amid challenges.

Dr Olufemi Ogunyemi, disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja, during an oversight visit by the House of Representatives Committee on Commerce and Investment, led by its Chairman, Ahmed Munir.

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Ogunyemi explained that of the N8 billion generated in 2023, the authority remitted N4 billion to the Federal Government and retained N4 billion in the agency’s coffers.

He also explained that upon his assumption of office, he inherited 52 free trade zones and had given licences to an additional two that have expressed a commitment to invest about three billion dollars in Nigeria.

Speaking on challenges in the agency, he decried conflicts between agencies, such as the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Nigerian Customs Service, and NEPZA.

He, however, attributed the conflicts to the obsolete NEPZA Act of 1992.

The managing director, while harping on the critical role played in the country industrialisation drive by free trade zones said inadequate infrastructure in the zones had remained a challenge.

According to him, there are lots of security challenges. Some of them, especially the privately owned ones, cannot get financing for infrastructure.

“Lot of states are trying to have zone licences, and some of the zones that have failed have been state governments and private partnerships where the state government has changed from one political party to another and has been neglected.

”You are all aware of the issues at Centenary Park in Abuja,” he said.

Ogunyemi, who also decried poor funding to the agency as another challenge, appealed to the National Assembly to assist in increasing their budgetary allocation.

Responding, the House Committee Chairman on Commerce urged the NEPZA boss to take swift action, as this would ensure quick amendments to its Act and enable him to achieve his mandate.

Munir urged NEPZA to forward to the House specific areas in the Act that needed amendment for quick redress, as relying on the Executive Order might linger and delay implementation.

He also urged the authority to forward details of the nonfunctional trade zones to the House to enable it ascertain their status and determine a path forward.

He also advised the NEPZA authorities to be conversant with the laws in the various agencies for better results so as to resolve the conflicts among the agencies.

Also speaking, the NEPZA Union Chairman, Yahaya Halliru, appealed to the House Committee Chairman to review the NEPZA Act 63 of 1992 to reflect modern-day realities.

He also requested a review of staff salaries, saying that they had not been reviewed for more than 10 years.

“We appeal to the National Assembly to appropriate more funds for the authority to provide world-class infrastructural facilities in our special economic zones.

“This will enable the authority to attract more investors and increase the inflow of foreign direct investments in the country and economic growth.

“We also appeal to the NASS to repeal and amend conflicting laws of our sister agencies to enable NEPZA to have a smooth operation in our various free zones,” he said.