The management of the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority(NEPZA) has been commended for the far reaching anti-corruption reforms that have seen the agency operating more transparently in the last two years
Making the commendation on Tuesday after a visit to the Anti-Corruption unit of the agency was the team lead of the Infrastructure Transparency Watchdog (ITW), Samson Thomas who said the group was at NEPZA as part of a review of level of operational transparency among agencies within the industrial infrastructure establishment in Nigeria.
In a speech at the event, the group noted that it was elated that “certain past tendencies that encouraged corruption have been cleaned up by the new management of the agency, adding that “strict observance of financial regulations and enforcement of procurement laws are now the norm rather than exception.
” We have seen records of sanctions imposed and disciplinary actions in line with service rules. The compliance level across the free zones are at all time high level due to the new management’s strict enforcement of service regulations. This was also attested to by reports of the Auditor General of the Federation.
” What is more , there is now value for money in several infrastructure projects that are ongoing across the free zones. Free zones infrastructures are costly. Lekki free zone, a private sector zone, has gulped over N100 billion Naira.
“It is clear that N14 billion Naira for six free zones in Nigeria is a mere drop in the ocean. Yet , we commend NEPZA team for its frugality and transparency especially in the ongoing implementation of infrastructural projects at the identified free zones”, the team lead noted.
Responding , Mr Olawale Abdullahi, an Adviser to Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, NEPZA Managing Director, thanked the Transparency group for its review visit promising that the new leadership of the agency has zero tolerance for corrupt practices, adding that ” the MD since assuming office stopped practices that breached financial regulations.
” He strengthened the Anti-Corruption unit, enhanced the independence of the auditors and deepen transparency of the procurement department. We are glad with your findings. We will not rest on our oars”, the aide said.