Senate to probe NEPZA over 14.3 billion illegal transfer

The Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has come under scrutiny by the Senate Committee on Trade and Investment for illegally transferring N14, 376,027,584.65 from the 2017 Appropriation Budget of NEPZA to the Nigeria Special Economic Zones Company.

Senator, Rose Okoh, who serves as the Chairperson of the committee, said that the committee is determined to get to the root of the matter. She made this clear at a budget defence meeting for agencies under the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

She noted that the illegal act is a breach of the 2017 appropriation act. She also added that the act attracted a query which the Senate Committee was privy to.

“This is a breach of the 2017 Appropriation Act. This committee intends to see the query and the inquiry to a logical conclusion. We will seek an explanation on how that sum got moved from government coffers ostensibly to a private company without due process and without the provision of goods and services.

“We are aware that some of the agencies such as NEPZA and Onne Oil and Gas Authority have overlapping functions. In our view, this needs to be streamlined to reduce wastages,” she said.

Okoh advised the Ministry to reposition itself in line with the development of the nation’s economy. She went further to task the Ministry to give details of their activities to the committee.

“Henceforth, the committee will like to be appraised of details of your investment drive, especially the FDls and have details of the non-oil trade that Nigeria is currently engaged in.”

Last month, the Federal Government approved the sum of N100 billion for the completion of the Kano Free Trade Zone after 15 years of abandonment.

According to the acting Managing Director of NEPZA, Terhemba David Nongo, establishing a Trade Free Zone has always been a priority for the government. The government intends to make Calabar and Kano, export processing zones, which will create employment opportunities when completed.