By Philip Clement
The Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) said it has enforced compliance with regards to the N15 billion Special Economic Zone Fund.
NEPZA was reacting to a news report alluding to a request of the Auditor General of the Federation for more details on the 2017 to 2019 financial tansactions on the development of special economic zones across the six geo-political zones of the country.
In a statement by Martins Odeh,
Head, Corporate Communications NEPZA on Wednesday, NEPZA affirmed that it is cooperating with the Auditor General’s office by providing details of the transactions including the compliance and due process requirements instituted under the new management of the Authority led by Prof. Adesoji Adesugba.
The statement reads “The Prof. Adesugba led management team that assumed operations in mid-2020 inherited the said transaction and had since implemented a clean-up operation within the context of Public Procurement Act and financial regulations.
“It is therefore, pertinent to state that the enforcement of the procurement laws was the first decision of this new management leading to advertisement of all contracts, public opening of bids and application of all due process requirements in the awards of contracts.
“Suffice to say that this new policy was strictly applied in the implementation of the earmarked Special Economic Zones such as the Medical Free Zone, Lekki, Lagos, Katsina Cotton and Textiles Free Zone, Kwara Agro-Allied and Medical Free Zones, as well as infrastructure upgrade at Calabar, Lagos and Kano free zones among others.
Furthermore, this new management in its resolve to promote the President Muhammed Buhari zero tolerance for corruption, revitalised the Authority’s Anti- Corruption Unit in partnership with the ICPC in addition to other safeguards to ensure value for money in line with the standard set by law and the directives of Buhari administration,”
The Authority added that the target was to ensure that new free zones relevant to the economic needs of the country are developed through compliance with relevant laws.
“It will interest the public to note that the country’s Organised Private sector, its counterpart abroad and a section of the public who have now come to the understanding of NEPZA’s daunting task of fast tracking Nigeria’s Industrialisation through free zone development, have continued to pour encomium on the opening up of special economic zones ostensibly aimed at enhancing the country’s competitiveness in leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for speedy Industrialisation and economic growth.
“NEPZA therefore, wants to assure the media and the general public that all relevant information on procurement processes in the agency are being provided to the Auditor General’s office and would not in any way promote corruption that could obliterate its mandate and vision,” the statement further disclosed.