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N15b Special Fund: ‘NEPZA enforces due process compliance’

By Chijioke Iremeka
01 January 2022   |   2:55 am
The management of the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), yesterday, said the company was cooperating with the Auditor General’s Office, by providing details of its transactions

NEPZA

The management of the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), yesterday, said the company was cooperating with the Auditor General’s Office, by providing details of its transactions, including compliance and due process requirements instituted under the new management led by Prof. Adesoji Adesugba.

The company was reacting to an alleged news report on request of the Auditor General of the Federation for more details on financial transactions from 2017 to 2019, on the development of special economic zones across the six geo-political zones of the country.

In a statement signed by the Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA, Martins Odeh and made available to The Guardian, Adesugba-led management team, which assumed operations in mid-2020, inherited the said transaction and had since, implemented a cleanup operation within the context of Public Procurement Act and financial regulations.

“It’s, therefore, pertinent to state that the enforcement of the procurement laws was the first decision of this new management, leading to the advertisement of all contracts, public opening of bids and application of all due process requirements in the awards of contracts,” the statement reads.

According to the statement, the 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.

It noted that in the resolve of the new management to promote President Muhammadu Buhari’s zero tolerance for corruption, NEPZA revitalised the Authority’s Anti- Corruption Unit in partnership with the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, (ICPC) to ensure value for money in line with the standard set by the law and the directives of Buhari’s administration.

The statement reads in part, “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 which 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 new management, therefore, remains committed to the anti-corruption agenda of the present administration and value for money in the deployment of special economic zones for the industrial development of the country.”