Free Trade Zones: World Bank, Stakeholders Endorse Single Regulatory Body


The World Bank and stakeholders have called on the need for the nation is to adopt a single regulatory body that will oversee the operations of Free Trade Zones (FTZs).

According to a press statement signed by Head, Corporate Communications, of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Simon Imobo-Tswam, and issued to the media on Tuesday, “Both the global bank and the stakeholders made their position known at the Public Hearing organized by House of Representatives’ Committee on Commerce. While the World Bank spoke through its Senior Operations Officer, Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice, Mr. Craig Raymond Giesze; the stakeholders canvassed the same position via a legal practitioner from Snake Island Integrated Zone (SIIFZ), Barr. Adewale Dosumu.”

Giesze was quoted as saying that there was need to “adopt the single regulatory authority regime for a number of reasons based on knowledge garnered over the years of what foreign investors look out for in an economy.

“But beyond the fact that a single regulatory authority is the global best practice, the benefits include the reduction in administrative costs, long-term stability, streamlining of operations and the safety of investment which, together or cumulatively lead to investor-confidence in the economy.”

Also speaking, a legal practitioner representing Snake Island Integrated Zone (SIIFZ), Adewale Dosumu, advised the Committee to also look at the three presidential review committees which recommended the merging of OGFZA with NEPZA so as to make for a unified regulatory framework in Nigeria.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the House Committee on Commerce, Hon. Sylvester Ogbaga (PDP Ebonyi State), said the aim of the public hearing was for stakeholders to make input that would assist the Committee in amending the proposed OGFZA Act.

Speaking thereafter, both the Managing Director of NEPZA, Hon. Emmanuel Jime, and his OGFZA counterpart, Chief Umana O. Umana, said since the supervisory Ministry of Trade and Investment had waded into the matter, with a view to presenting a harmonized position on the matter to the House Committee, they would not make any submissions, but wait for the ministry’s decision.

Earlier, the House Speaker, who was represented by the Deputy Chief Whip, Hon. Pally Isumafe Iriase, welcomed the representatives of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority (OGFZA) to the hearing, saying “it is a thing of great pride that Nigeria is acknowledged as the first country to establish an authority to regulate and administer such zones.”

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