Abuja — The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), has rated very high the procurement activities of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA).
The anti-corruption body scored NEPZA 12.9 points out of a total available 14 points in the area of adhering to the provisions of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) on the award of contracts.In a document titled, ‘Forwarding Report of System Study on the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority,’ which was sighted by The Guardian, Wednesday, in Abuja, the Commission said it carried out the exercise in 2018.
The system study, which took a holistic view of all the operations of NEPZA, ranging from personnel engagement to planned activities, among others, showed that sampled contracts awarded by the agency and available documents on tender, pre-qualification process were largely in line with BPP’s provisions.
Meanwhile, NEPZA has said it is not against the establishment of the Nigeria Special Economic Zones Company (NSEZCO), as approved by the Federal Executive Council.Rather, the agency seeks to become a shareholder and member of the Board of the company, to represent the interest of the Federal Government as prevalent in other sectors.
NEPZA, which made this known during a presentation to the joint committee of the National Assembly, made reference to the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) company, where the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is the Federal Government’s representative.
The joint committee looking into the NSEZCO structure is made up of the Appropriation Committee of the Senate; Senate Committee on Trade and Investment; Appropriation Committee of the House of Representatives; and House Committee on Commerce.
NEPZA insisted that it is in full support of the President’s initiative on the Special Economic Zones, but merely seeking to ensure due process, transparency in accordance with the Act setting it up, which permits it to carry out the same activities that NSEZCO is being set up to do.
Recall that the setting up of NSEZCO as a private firm (with partly government ownership), to manage some trade zones in the country has generated controversy, with the Senate recently rejecting the N15.63 billion allocated to the company in the 2019 budget.