‘Nigeria losing huge revenue from free trade scheme’

By Felix Khanoba

The Senate Committee on Trade, Industry and Investment says Nigeria is losing huge amounts of money from lack of foresight in the management of the free trade zone scheme in the country.

Acting Chairman of the committee, Sen. Francis Fadahunsi, disclosed this when he led members of the committee on a visit to the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) in Abuja.

Fadahunsi, however, expressed hope that the recent appointment of Prof. Adesoji Adesugba as Managing Director of NEPZA

would turn around things in the trade zones.

A statement by NEPZA’s spokesman, Martins Odeh quoted Fadahunsi as calling on Adesugba to bring his prowess to bear in ensuring a better free trade zones system.

“We are happy to be here and with your appointment we hope strongly that with the cooperation of the ninth senate things will move, I believe because you have been an achiever.

“Just provide infrastructural facilities and security in the zones that can attract investors, they will come…

“As regards us, we are ready to work with the executive arm and by extension, the Authority to ensure whatever laws we are going to amend to assist you to bring innovation that will make you to do things differently is given priority,’’ the Senator said.

The committee chair said the Senate would throw its weight behind the NEPZA boss to ensure effective management and prevent any loss of revenue from the free zone scheme.

“There is now a respite that you have come to manage the agency. We expect positive changes in many areas. We shall also support you in the creation of additional or new free trade zones.”

Earlier, Adesugba assured the committee of his readiness to improve on the fortunes of trade zones, even as he called for support of the lawmakers.

His words: “The role of the Senate and the entire National Assembly in enabling us to reach our mandate is very critical to us.

“I have no doubt that we will be working very closely with your committee to ensure that NEPZA attains its objective in playing a very critical role in the industrialization of Nigeria.”

The NEPZA boss further said the harsh economic impact of Covid-19 pandemic could be quickly ameliorated using the strategy of the free zone scheme.

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