By Miriam Humbe
The Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), is seeking the amendment of NEPZA Act 63 of 1992 to attract more investments for economic growth.
In a news conference in Abuja, Acting Managing Director, Mr Bitrus Dawuk said the amendment was necessary as the present Act was enacted 27 years ago.
He expressed the authority’s readiness to work with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, the National Assembly and other relevant stakeholders to ensure the amendment of the outdated Act.
“The Act if amended, would bring a lot of investments in terms of infrastructure, create employment opportunities and economic turnaround in the financial sector, especially for the Free Trade Zones,’’ he said.
A Free Trade Zone is a special economic zone where goods may be stored, reconfigured, manufactured and re-exported under specific regulations.
He said that the free trade zone was introduced to drive the Nigerian economy on the path of industrialisation for the purpose of creating employment opportunities, export growth and attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).
Dawuk explained that initially, the Act was meant for export processing zones, adding that the present free zones scheme was dynamic and had a lot of variants which the current Act was not adequately addressing.
He revealed that the federal government had on December 23, 2019 set up a seven-member committee which comprised officials from the authority and ministry to look into its challenges and come up with recommendations.
On the Free Trade Zones, he said the authority would work hard to meet the needs of investors and ensure diversified economy by creating an enabling environment.
He said the zones generated a lot of revenue in different ways, and noted that the authority since 2018 had not been receiving subvention for overhead from the federal government, adding that it had been sustaining itself from revenue generated after remitting government percentage.
“Since 1992 to 2016, I am not sure if the allocation to NEPZA is up to N30 billion but from 2017 till now, it has been getting appropriation of N49 billion and allocation of not less than N20 billion,’’ he said.
NEPZA was established in 1992 following the enactment of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Act 63, of 1992 with the strategic mandate of promoting local and international investments into Nigeria’s licensed Free Trade Zones.