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    Wednesday, July 10, 2024

    NEPZA Experiences a 25% Drop in Revenue, Amounting to N6 billion

    The revenue of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has decreased by 25 percent over the past six months, amounting to N6 billion compared to the N8 billion it had generated in 2023.

    Dr. Olufemi Ogunyemi, NEPZA's managing director, revealed this information during an oversight visit in Abuja by the House of Representatives Committee on Commerce and Investment, headed by Chairman Ahmed Munir.Ogunyemi explained that of the N8 billion generated in 2023, the authority remitted N4 billion to the federal government and retained N4 billion in the agency’s coffers.

    Upon assuming office, he clarified that he had inherited 52 free trade zones and had granted licenses to two more, which have shown a commitment to invest approximately N3 billion dollars in Nigeria.

    When discussing the challenges within the agency, he expressed concern over conflicts between agencies, including the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Nigerian Customs Service, and NEPZA.

    Nevertheless, he ascribed the disputes to the outdated NEPZA Act of 1992.

    The managing director emphasized the crucial role that free trade zones play in the country's industrialization drive, but also noted that inadequate infrastructure in the zones continues to be a challenge.

    He stated that there are numerous security challenges, with certain privately owned entities struggling to secure financing for their infrastructure.

    “Lot of states are trying to have zone licences, and some of the zones that have failed have been state governments and private partnerships where the state government has changed from one political party to another and has been neglected.

    ”You are all aware of the issues at Centenary Park in Abuja,” he said.

    Ogunyemi also expressed concern about the inadequate funding for the agency, and urged the National Assembly to help increase their budget allocation.

    The Chairman of the House Committee on Commerce has advised the NEPZA boss to act promptly in order to facilitate speedy revisions to its Act and help him fulfill his responsibilities.

    Munir emphasized the importance of NEPZA sending specific areas in the Act that required amendment to the House for prompt resolution, as depending solely on the Executive Order could prolong and hinder implementation. He further urged the authority to provide information on the nonoperational trade zones to the House for assessment of their status and planning for the future.

    He further recommended that the NEPZA authorities familiarize themselves with the regulations of the different agencies in order to achieve more effective outcomes in resolving inter-agency conflicts.

    Also, NEPZA Union Chairman Yahaya Halliru urged the House Committee Chairman to update the NEPZA Act 63 of 1992 to align with contemporary circumstances.

    He additionally asked for a reassessment of the staff salaries, noting that they had not undergone a review in over a decade.

     “We appeal to the National Assembly to appropriate more funds for the authority to provide world-class infrastructural facilities in our special economic zones.

    “This will enable the authority to attract more investors and increase the inflow of foreign direct investments in the country and economic growth.

    “We also appeal to the NASS to repeal and amend conflicting laws of our sister agencies to enable NEPZA to have a smooth operation in our various free zones,” he said.

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