As part of the efforts to restore the confidence of foreign investors in Nigeria’s free zones, the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has set up a committee to probe into the dispute between the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL) and its foreign partner, Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), THISDAY has learnt.
THISDAY gathered that the committee will investigate the alleged breach of Nigerian laws by SHI-MCI, a joint venture between the two partners.
NEPZA has also directed LADOL to immediately renew the operating license of SHI-MCI Free Zone Enterprise.
In a letter to the Managing Director of Global Resource Management Free Zone Company, a subsidiary of LADOL and managers of the LADOL free zone, signed by the Managing Director of NEPZA, Hon. Emmanuel Jime, which was obtained by THISDAY, NEPZA informed the free zone management company that, “Kindly be informed that a committee has been constituted by the authority to investigate the various alleged infractions purportedly committed by Samsung Heavy Industries and SHI-MCI FZE in LADOL Free Trade Zone spanning over a period of time.
“In accordance with section (20)(a) part 5 of the free zone regulation 2004, which provides as follows, ‘the authority/zone management may appoint one or more competent persons as inspectors, to investigate the affairs of any free zone enterprise and report to the authority in such form and within such time as it may direct. Such appointment may be made on the application of the owners or of the free zone enterprise or by the authority acting unilaterally or by any other person provided the authority is satisfied that good reason has been shown or circumstance arisen for requiring the investigation.”
It added, “In light of the above provision, the committee has been specifically mandated to examine the allegations stated in your letter dated 30th August 2018, numbered 1-7 and submit its findings within five days for further necessary action.
“Without prejudice to the final outcome of the committee findings, you are hereby directed to renew the operating license of SHI-MCI FZE in LADOL Free Trade Zone Enterprise for the period under review 2018/2019 pursuant to the delegated powers provided under S.(41) of the LADOL Free Zone Regulations 2016.”
NEPZA added, “you are kindly requested to avail the free zone enterprise unhindered access to its designated business premises and facilities as well as accord the enterprise all the privileges and guarantees as contemplated under the free zone laws, guidelines and regulations. The above directive is for your prompt compliance.”