James Emejo in Abuja
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has rated high the performance of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) in procurement activities.
The anti-corruption body scored NEPZA 12.9 out of the total available 14 points in the area of adhering to the provisions of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) on issues bordering on award of contracts.
In a document titled, ‘Forwarding Report of System Study on the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority,’ the commission said it carried out the exercise in 2018.
The system study, which took a holistic view of all the operations of NEPZA, ranging from personnel engagement to planned activities, among others, showed that sampled contracts awarded by the agency and available documents on tender, pre-qualification process were largely in line with BPP’s provisions.
Meanwhile, NEPZA has said it is not against the establishment of the Nigeria Special Economic Zones Company (NSEZCO) by the Federal Executive Council.
The agency said it should be made a shareholder and appointed to the Board of the company to represent the interest of the Federal Government as obtainable in other sectors.
NEPZA, which stated this during a presentation to the joint committee of the National Assembly, made reference to the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) company where the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is the Federal Government’s representative.
The joint committee of the National Assembly looking into the issue of NSEZCO is made up of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senate Committee on Trade and Investment, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation and Committee on Commerce.
NEPZA, in a statement said it was in full support of the initiative of the President Muhammadu Buhari on the Special Economic Zones but only insisted on doing so through due process, transparency and by following the law, as the Act setting up the agency allows and permits it to carry out the same activities that NSEZCO is being set up to do.
The setting up of NSEZCO as a private firm (with partly government ownership) to manage some trade zones in the country had generated controversy, with the Senate recently rejecting the N15.63 billion allocated to the company in the 2019 budget.