James Emejo in Abuja
The newly appointed acting Managing Director, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Mr. Bitrus Dawuk, has canvassed the amendment of the agency’s establishment Act which he described as currently obsolete in view of present reality.
He said the NEPZA Act 63, 1992 had failed to meet the country’s current economic demands, adding that its amendment will be vigorously pursued under his administration.
Speaking during his maiden interactive session with journalists, he said, “My intention is to work with the Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investments, the National Assembly and other stakeholders to get this Act amended, if I can achieve this during the lifespan of my tenure, I will remain very grateful.”
He said the proposed amendment would usher in lots of investments in infrastructure, finance, generate wealth, creates direct and indirect jobs as well as reduce the reliance on oil revenue in line with the objectives of the present administration to diversify the economy.
However, the authority had made several attempts under previous administrations to amend the Act without success due to some meditation factoring.
Essentially, the NEPZA Act 63 was initiated to license, monitor and regulate all the free trade zones including Calabar, Lagos, Kano among others. He said the review would enable the authority to be self-sustaining.
He also clarified that a seven-member committee drawn from the authority and from the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment had been set up to probe alleged diversion of funds from NEPZA to other accounts in violation of extant financial rules during the tenure of the erstwhile minister, Okechukwu Elelamah.
Dawuk, further vowed to prioritise workers’ welfare and build their capacity to properly harness their potentials for better service delivery- and promised to work with the supervising ministry, and other stakeholders to ensure that the country’s free trade zones deliver their maximum contributions to economic growth.
He, further sought better collaboration and partnership with the media to advance the economy.