The Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) is cooperating with the Office of Auditor General of the Federation in providing information concerning the N15 billion transactions on the development of special economic zones.
NEPZA said on Friday that it is providing details of the transactions including the compliance and due process requirements instituted under the new management of the Authority led by Prof. Adesoji Adesugba.
According to Mr Martins Odeh, Head, Corporate Communications NEPZA, the attention of the authority has been drawn to news report on request of the Auditor General of the Federation for more details on the 2017 to 2019 financial transactions on the development of special economic zones across the six geo-political zones of the country.
The Prof. Adesugba led management team, he said, assumed operations in mid-2020 inherited the said transaction and had since implemented a clean-up operation within the context of Public Procurement Act and financial regulations.
It is therefore, pertinent to state that the enforcement of the procurement laws was the first decision of this new management leading to advertisement of all contracts, public opening of bids and application of all due process requirements in the awards of contracts.
Suffice to say that this 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.
“Furthermore, this new management in its resolve to promote the President Muhammed Buhari’s zero tolerance for corruption, revitalised the Authority’s Anti- Corruption Unit in partnership with the ICPC in addition to other safeguards to ensure value for money in line with the standard set by law and the directives of Buhari administration.
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 who 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.’’