Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative (ARDI), has asked the Senate to as a matter of urgency, repeal the 1996 Act establishing the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority (OGFZA) and merge it with the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) in order to have one unified agency.
The Executive Secretary of ARDI, Chief Dennis Aghanya, in a letter addressed to the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan, a copy which was made available to Daily Sun in Abuja, said the call was for the interest of the public.
Copied in the letter were the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, the Managing Director, NEPZA and the Managing Director, OGFZA.
ARDI noted that the NEPZA Act of 1992 empowered the agency to administer and manage all the export processing zones in the country.
The anti-corruption office added that surprisingly, the 1996 OGFZA Act, rather than adding any economic value, the action, ended up duplicating the functions of NEPZA and bloated personnel cost as a result of the management of the same agency which operated as two different agencies.
“We most humbly request the National Assembly to as a matter of urgency and public interest revert to the earlier status of the nation’s export processing zones by repealing the 1996 Act establishing the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority (OGFZA) and amending the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) Act 1992 to absorb the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority (OGFZA) as a specialised department of NEPZA in Oil and Gas.
“The NEPZA Act of 1992 empowered the agency to administer and manage all the Export Processing Zones in the country. But surprisingly, the 1996 OGFZA Act was enacted for the oil zone at Onne/Okpokiri, probably in consideration of the importance of the sector in the nation’s economy.
“But rather than adding any economic value, the action, Years down the line, ended up duplicating the functions of NEPZA and bloated personnel cost as a result of the management of the same agency which now operates as two different agencies.
“The recent directive by President Muhammadu Buhari for the implementation of the recommendations of the Steve Oronsaye led Presidential Committee on the need to downsize the number of government agencies in the country to reduce the cost of governance is a deserving policy by an administration determined to re-write the wrong policies of the previous administrations in the country. Our petition on this subject is therefore very timely as it is in support of President Buhari’s concern on the need to reduce cost of governance,” Aghanya said.