The chairman, Senate Committee on Trade, Industry and Investment has urged the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) to push for the amendment of its Act to actualise its mandate of regulating the free trade zone scheme in the country.

Chairman of the committee Sen. Francis Fadahunsi made the remark while on a routine oversight function to some free trade zones in Lagos State.

He said the time has come to put to rest crisis between NEPZA and the Onne Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Authority (OGEFZA) stating that both agencies have distinct functions judging by the existing laws establishing them.

“Going by NEPZA Act 63 of 1992, the Authority is bestowed with the sole mandate of regulating Nigeria’s Free Trade Zone Scheme. NEPZA by this Act is a regulatory body’’.

“If the agency wanted to enlarge its powers to cover the entire country, the operators should also come up with a bill seeking amendment of the Act, OGEFZA has never been a regulatory body’’, Sen. Fadahunsi said.

He said the regular squabbles between the two agencies is a clear act of economic sabotage instead of generating employment and contributing to the nation’s GDP.

Meanwhile, NEPZA’s Board Chairman, Mr Adamu Fanda, said the Authority would perform better if placed under the supervision of the presidency, saying that was the position in all of the countries where the scheme had succeeded.

“The United Arab Emirate adopted this scheme in 1987 while Nigeria embraced it in 1992, leaving UAE to just be ahead of us with just five years. UAE has used FTZ to attain inconceivable development strides but our case is different’’.

“The country’s free trade zone can only be successful like those of China and UAE if built on cost benefit analysis. It will be more profitable with the private sector taking full charge while NEPZA supervises”. Fanda said..