05 November 2019
Minister of Trade and Investment Adeniyi Adebayo, has revealed that the Federal Government would be made a major shareholder in the Nigeria Special Economic Zones Company (NSEZCO), a company established to coordinate Special Economic Zones in the country.
Adebayo gave the revelation when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Trade and Investment at the national assembly complex in Abuja.
According to the minister, the whole idea behind the establishment of the company was to have specialize Zones where special industrial activities would take place.
He however clarified that 14 billion naira from 2017 appropriation budget of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), that was previously appropriated to the agency was still intact and in custody of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The clarification done by the minister, came at the heels of a previous request for more insight into the matter on the alleged illegal transfer of about N14 billion from 2017 appropriation budget of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA).
”Nobody has touched a dime from the money and it is being investigated by the appropriate security agencies .
“We believe the Federal Government should hold a share in the company and we have stepped down plans because investigation is still ongoing on the matter but once the investigation is been concluded, we will look at the proper manner in which the money should be set up.
“Where there are mistakes, it will be corrected such that government will hold a proper share and the private investors too will hold a proper share .” Adebayo asserted.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on appropriation, Senator Jibrin Barau(APC Kano), while noting the committee had sought for explanation on the controversial misappropriation of N14 billion budgeted to an alleged private company (NZSECO), when their attention was brought to it, urged the minister to liaise with the president on bringing up appropriation for consideration of the senate after resolving the matter.
Sen. Rochas Okorocha (APC Imo) on his part also advised the committee to consider appropriating the 14 billion domiciled in CBN to sectors such as tourism and other sectors, maintaining that it was not beneficial to the economy when such money that could be invested in other sectors was kept in the bank.
Recall thatt the sum of N14 billion was reportedly included in the budget of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment for NZSECO which was claimed to be a private company operated by the immediate past minister, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah.
Also was the alleged illegal transfer of about N14 billion from 2017 appropriation budget of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), by the former minister, Okechukwu Enelamah to a private company, called Nigeria Special Economic Zones Company.