By Ossom Raphael
Abuja – The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah has said that the N14.3 billion meant for Nigeria Special Economic Zones Company (NSEZCO) is domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, disclosed this to journalists in Abuja on Thursday.
Enelamah said under the federal Government’s ‘Made in Nigeria for Export’ project $125 million will be invested into the Nigeria Special Economic Zone Investment Company (NSEZCO) to boost manufacturing activities in the zones
The Minister said the Federal Government has already released N14.3 billion as parts of its 25 per cent ($125 million) investment commitment to the company, and added that the remaining 75 per cent ($375 million) would soon be provided by other private investors.
“The Federal Government has already released N14.3 billion as part of its 25 per cent (125 million dollars) investment commitment to the company.
“The remaining 75 per cent (375 million dollars) will soon be provided by other private investors. N14.3 billion has been transferred to Central Bank of Nigeria’s account of NSEZCO, and the money is still there intact, waiting for other investors,’’ he said
Recalled that the Senate during the budget presentation of the ministry alleged that N14.3 billion was transferred from NEPZA’s account into the account of a private company, NSEZCO.
The Senate later directed Enelemah and the acting Managing Director of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Terhemba Nongo, to return N14.3 billion to the purse of the Federal Government.
Enelamah, said there was nothing wrong with public private partnership arrangement in putting in place NSEZCO even as he dismissed insinuations that there was an ulterior motive behind the establishment of the company.
According the him “I have zero interest in NSEZCO. You can take that to the bank. I can also tell you no individual has an interest. The only interest is that of the Federal Government through the Ministry of Finance Incorporated and another 75 per cent held in trust for partners which they are in process of obtaining have signed agreements”
Speaking further, Enelamah, said the Federal Government has done well in the area of ‘Ease of Doing Business’
He also said the ministry had improved the operational environment for businesses in the country.
“The removal of bottlenecks has enhanced reduction of challenges encountered by Small and Medium Enterprise and other businesses in areas such as starting a business; access to credit and paying taxes.
“Others are enforcing contracts or trading within and across borders while investor interest in Nigeria has increased.
“Investment announcements of 90.9 billion dollars recorded in 2018, is 37 per cent increase over the 66.4 billion dollars tracked in 2017,’’ he said.