Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, Managing Director, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), says NEPZA Act is currently under review to comply with international best practices for the Free Zone scheme. Adesugba disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja while speaking with newsmen on commemoration of his one year in office.
Our Correspondent reports that the current NEPZA Act, established about 30 years ago does not conform with the realities of mordern Special Economic Zones (SEZs) regulations and administration, locally and internationally.
The Act does not support skills acquisition and technology transfer to domestic market, nor for enterprises’ backward linkages to the customs territory which is key to economic development. The Act does not support skills acquisition and technology transfer to domestic market, nor for enterprises’ backward linkages to the customs territory which is key to economic development.
To address this, the managing director said he was driving the process of ensuring a change in the regulatory framework for NEPZA. Adesugba said the Act had been reviewed with inputs from stakeholders and draft bill had been submitted to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment for transmission to the legislature for debate and adoption. He said that an up to date legal and regulatory framework was crucial to support the current Special Economic Zones (SEZs) land scape. According to him, successful passage of this bill into law will position the authority on the right course to successfully achieve its mandate. He further highlighted some of his achievements toward repositioning NEPZA which included development of a system of constant engagement and feedback with support of the ministry to ensure common messaging regarding the agency’s goals and objectives. He listed others as establishment of new units to support new strategies, a benchmark tarrif structure designed for revenue generation, National Operational Licences (OPL) and Offshore Banking for access to foreign exchange. Others achievements according to him include resolution of challenges within zones, improved stakeholder engagement and collaboration, approval for new SEZs improved staff motivation, training and capacity building. He said various gaps were identified in key sectors of the economy leading to plans to bridge them using SEZ scheme