By Emmanuella Anokam
Abuja – The Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), has called for the amendment of NEPZA Act 63 of 1992 to attract more investments for economic growth.
Mr Bitrus Dawuk, Acting Managing Director of NEPZA in a news conference on Friday in Abuja, said that the amendment was necessary as the present act was enacted 27 years ago.
Dawuk noted that at inception, the act was meant for export processing zones, adding that the present free zones scheme was dynamic and had a lot of variants which the current act was not addressing adequately.
He expressed readiness of the authority to work with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, National Assembly and other relevant stakeholders to ensure that the outdated act was amended.
“The act if amended would bring a lot of investments in terms of infrastructure, create employment opportunities and economic turnaround in the financial sector, especially for the free trade zones,’’ he said.
He noted that the Federal Government had in Dec. 23, 2019 set up a seven-member committee which comprised officials from the authority and ministry to look into its challenges and come up with recommendations.
On the Free Trade Zones, he said the authority would work assiduously to create enabling environment to meet the needs of investors and ensure diversified economy.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Free Trade Zone is a special economic zone where goods may be stored, reconfigured, manufactured and re-exported under specific regulations.
He said that the free trade zone was introduced to drive the Nigerian economy on the path of industrialisation aimed at creating employment opportunities, export growth and attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).
In terms of revenue, he said the zones generated a lot of revenue in different ways.
He further noted that the authority since 2018 had not been receiving subvention for overhead from the Federal Government, adding that it had been sustaining itself from revenue generated after remitting government percentage.
“Since 1992 to 2016, I am not sure if the allocation to NEPZA is up to N30 billion but from 2017 till now, it has been getting appropriation of N49 billion and allocation of not less than N20 billion,’’ he said.
According to him, he the authority has transformed Calabar and Kano free zones in terms of road infrastructure, warehouse and electricity reticulation.
He thanked the Federal Government for its support and appealed for more.
NEPZA was established in 1992 following the enactment of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Act 63, of 1992 with strategic mandate of promoting local and international investments into Nigeria’s licensed Free Trade Zones.