The Federal Government has called for the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) Act to be amended to address issues affecting the smooth operation of Free Trade Zones (FTZs) across the country.
Francis Fadahunsi, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade and Investment, made the call during an oversight visit to the Snake Island Integrated Free Zone (SIIFZ) in Lagos with NEPZA board members. He stated that the amendment to the NEPZA Act would resolve all issues for the smooth operation of FTZs.
While praising the various free zone enterprises and the significant revenue generated for the government by agencies stationed in the zone, he specifically praised SIIFZ’s contribution to the growth of the NEPZA over the years by supporting a single free zone authority.
Vice-Chairman of the committee, Ishaku Abbo, who also praised SIIFZ’s investment initiative, stated that the oversight visit was intended to ensure consistency in the payment of appropriate revenue into the federation account via the regulatory body, while also ensuring that the free zone operates optimally.
Speaking on behalf of the board and management of SIIFZ, Maher Jarmakani, Chief Executive Officer, stated that SIIFZ has made significant contributions to the growth of the Nigerian economy by attracting major industrial investors and manufacturers.
He mentioned that the move resulted in mass employment, technology transfer, and capacity development for the country.
He specifically mentioned that the free zone had contributed through job creation, infrastructure, and investments by registered enterprises in terminal operations, ship repair, heavy industries, pollution management, fabrication, and training, among other things.
Yusufu Abdullahi, one of SIIFZ’s directors, tasked the committee with resolving the free zone regulatory issues as soon as possible.
He stated that this was done to assure investors of the safety of their investment “by protecting the current Free Zone Scheme under NEPZA.”