Leading investors in Nigerian Free Trade Zones have threatened to commence divestment from the zones over alleged proposed transfer of supervision from Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) to the Oil and Gas Free Trade Zones (OGFZA) dominated by a company linked to the former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar.
The investors have also called on the board of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority(NEPZA) to summon a stakeholders’ meeting.
In a statement signed by Yusufu Abdullahi, Director, Snake Island Integrated Free Zone, Lagos, the investors cited a leaked draft report from the Federal Ministry of Trade.
They claimed that the report had proposed to transfer supervision of such private sector investment from Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority(NEPZA) to the Oil and Gas Free Trade Zones (OGFZA) in which a company (INTELS) linked to former Vice President Abubakar owned major shares.
They alleged that the proposed reform was “a ploy to destroy multi-million naira private investment in the free zones” and called on NEPZA “to call a meeting of stakeholders and investors on the subject.
According to the statement, “The Governing Board of NEPZA should meet with the Stakeholders to listen to our concerns on this issue and collate coordinated views and inform FMITI before going to FEC with a memo.
“For the report to be genuine it should be processed through NEPZA and Free Zone Developers cum-Zone Sponsors, Zone Management and selected Free Zone Enterprises under the Regulatory Authority of NEPZA, they constitute Stakeholders.
The reason is to prevent disinvestment in the Free Zone Sector because the affected Zones are all Private Direct Investment without a single Government grants”.