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NEPZA complete 76 of 112 projects in Calabar, other FTZs

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NEPZA complete 76 of 112 projects in Calabar, other FTZs

A total of 76 out of the 112 projects approved for the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) by the Federal Government, have been completed.

According to the statement by Martins Odeh, Head Corporate Communications of NEPZA, the Joint Projects Monitoring Committee that comprised officials from the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment and the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) rounded-off scheduled inspections of 112 approved projects for the Authority.

These projects, captured under the NEPZA Tender Board of 2017-2021, direct Federal Executive Council approval and the Ministerial Tender Board of Capital Projects are located at Calabar Free Trade Zone (CFTZ), Kano Free Trade Zones (KFTZ) and the newly approved Lagos and Kwara Special Economic Zones respectively.

Out of the 112 ongoing projects, a total of 76 have been completed with the CFTZ accounting for 28; KFTZ 38; Lekki SEZ 5; and Ilorin SEZ 5 while others are at different levels of completion.

Some of the projects include: Erosion Control Works & Rehabilitation of Collapsed Perimeter Fence at CFTZ; Construction of Emergency Exit Gates & Access Road to the Jetties at CFTZ; Re-Asphalting of the Exiting Dual Carriageway Road Network at CTFZ; Consulting Services for Masterplan & Architectural Design at Kwara SEZ; Consulting Services for Engineering & Infrastructure Design at Kwara SEZ; Quantity Surveying for Feasibility Studies at Kwara SEZ; and the Development of initial 5MW Power Plant & Electrical Reticulation within the Ilorin SEZ.

There is the Construction of Roads with Associated Drainage Work at KFTZ; Construction of Four Standard Size Factory Building & Associated External Works at KFTZ; the Purchase of Property at No.38 Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos; thee Re-furbishing & Furnishing of the Newly acquired NEPZA new Lagos Zonal Office among others.

Speaking at the end of the tour in Calabar, Hajia Zainab Aliyu, NEPZA’s Director of Monitoring & Compliance, expressed satisfaction with the level of projects execution across the four zones, adding that the Federal Government had always ensured value-for-money in the execution of its contracts.

Aliyu, who led the Authority’s team in the statement, said that the approval for the projects’ inspection tours indicated government priority toward adequate provision of infrastructure in the free trade zones.

She said: “As part of the statutory responsibility of NEPZA as provided in Section 4 of the Authority’s Act 63 of 1992 is the provision that ensures that all zones provide some of the basic infrastructure. We are also obliged to constantly monitor and evaluate both new and old infrastructure.

“The reasons for these monitoring and evaluation exercises were to ensure the right quality of materials were used and the the right quality of jobs are done, just as we also checked the percentage of work done in line with the amount assigned for the project.

“To this end, the Managing Director, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba decided to set up this committee to access all the projects that have been earmarked from the period he assumed leadership of the Authority.

“The Authority has, however, decided to carry out the task jointly with our supervising Ministry, which is the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment. So far, we were encouraged by the progress of executions.’’

Meanwhile, Martins Odeomenem, Director of Procurement, who led the team members from the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment, described NEPZA as a serious agency of government that had always displayed uprightness in the conduct of its affairs.

Odeomenem, explained that the ministry was, however, mostly concerned with those projects approved through the Ministerial Tender Board, adding that most of projects under the above category had been completed.

“It is not all about awarding contracts and executing contracts. There is also the need for every office that has the duty of awarding contracts to know that government is seriously after value-for-money.

“he inspections were aimed at ascertaining if the contracts the government awarded within the period under review are achieving the purpose for which they were awarded and executed. This is the essence of our assignment.

“I am fully aware that NEPZA is a serious establishment that abhors shoddy execution of its projects because of the strategic nature of the free zones in attracting foreign investment. We have gone around and I can say with all sense of responsibility that we are satisfied with what we have met on ground so far.’’ Odeomenem said.

The committee is, however, expected to submit a detailed technical report of its evaluation within 21days.

In a related development, members of the House Committee on Commerce who are embarking on their Mid-Term Inspections of projects at free zones across the country concluded a two-day tour of the Kano Free Trade Zone on Monday.

Hon. Richard Gbande, Deputy Chairman of the committee expressed satisfaction on how the Authority had so managed the special economic ecosystem, describing it as a vital economic gateway that should fast track the industrialisation of the Northern region.

Gbande explained that the zone was lucrative going by the presence of 75 enterprises functioning night and day to increase production for the country’s highly competitive markets.

“We are sure production and competition among the enterprises in the zone would increase significantly if the Federal Government finally divests its equity to the private sector as planned. Doing so will help open the space more for job creation.’’ The Lawmaker said.

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CBN Limits Cash Withdrawals To N100,000, 500,000 Weekly For Individuals And Organisations

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has set N100,000 as the maximum limit for weekly cash withdrawal over the counter by individuals.

CBN also set N500,000 as the maximum withdrawal by organisations with effect from January 9, 2023.

The apex bank made this known via a memo signed by the Director of Banking Supervision, CBN, Haruna Mustafa, on Tuesday.

Withdrawal at POS terminals was also limited to N20,000 per day.

The CBN noted that cash withdrawals above the stated limit will attract a processing fee of 5 per cent for individuals and 10 per cent for organisations.

The memo read: “Further to the launch of the redesigned Naira notes by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on Wednesday, November 23, 2022 and in line with the Cash- less policy of the CBN, all deposit money banks (DMBS) and other financial institutions (OFIs) are hereby directed to note and comply with the following:

The maximum cash withdrawal over the counter (OTC) by individuals and corporate organizations per week shall henceforth be N100,000 and N500,000 respectively. Withdrawals above these limits shall attract processing fees of 5% and 10%, respectively.

Third party cheques above 50,000 shall not be eligible for payment over the counter, while extant limits of N10,000,000 on clearing cheques still subsist.

The maximum cash withdrawal per week via Automated Teller Machine (ATM) shall be #100,000 subject to a maximum of N20,000 cash withdrawal per day.

Only denominations of #200 and below shall be loaded into the ATMs.

The maximum cash withdrawal via Point of Sale (POS) terminal shall be N20,000 daily.

In compelling circumstances, not exceeding once a month, where cash withdrawals above the prescribed limits is required for legitimate purposes, such cash withdrawals shall not exceed #5,000,000.00 and N10,000,000.00 for individuals and corporate organisations, respectively, and shall be subject to the referenced processing fees in (1) above, in addition to enhanced due diligence and further information requirements.

“Further to (6) above, you are required to obtain the following information at the minimum and upload same on the CBN portal created for the purpose,” the CBN noted.

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BREAKING: Governorship Aspirant Jailed 42 Years Over Corruption

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The governorship candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Bassey Albert, has been sentenced to 42 years in prison for corruption.

A Federal High Court in Uyo, on Thursday, convicted and sentenced Mr Albert who was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

He has been taken to Ikot Ekpene prisons, Akwa Ibom State, to serve his prison term.

Mr Albert, a serving senator representing Akwa Ibom North East District, was accused of receiving bribes of 12 cars worth N254 million from an oil marketer, Olajidee Omokore, during his (Albert’s) tenure (2010 – 2014) as commissioner for finance in Akwa Ibom State.

The convicted senator was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, the ruling party in the state, before he defected months ago to the YPP, where he secured the party’s ticket for the 2023 governorship election.

He was a major challenger to the PDP candidate, Umo Eno, in next year’s governorship election in Akwa Ibom State.

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BREAKING: Appeal Court Sets Nnamdi Kanu Free, Challenges High Court’s Jurisdiction

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The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja has discharged the embattled leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

Kanu is being prosecuted by the Federal Government at the Federal High Court in Abuja for 15 count charges bordering, including treasonable felony and terrorism, offences he allegedly committed in the course of his separatist campaigns.

A three-man panel of the Court of Appeal said the Federal High Court lacks the jurisdiction to try him in view of his abduction and extraordinary rendition to Nigeria in flagrant violation of the OAU convention and protocol on extradition.

The court held that the 15-count charge preferred against Kanu did not disclose the place, date, time and nature of the alleged offences before being unlawfully extradited to Nigeria in clear violation of international treaties.

The court further held that the Federal Government failed to disclose where Nnamdi Kanu was arrested despite the grave allegations against him.

The court noted that the act of abduction and extraordinary rendition of Kanu from Kenya without due process is a violation of his right.

It added that the manner in which Nnamdi Kanu was procured and brought before the court was not evaluated by the lower court, before assuming jurisdiction to try him.

The lower court having failed to address the preliminary objection challenging its jurisdiction particularly the issue of abduction and extraordinary rendition from Kenya to Nigeria, the lower court failed to take cognizance of the fact that a warrant of arrest can only be executed anywhere within Nigeria, the appeal court judgement said.

The court further held that the trial judge was in grave error to have breached the right to fair hearing of Nnamdi Kanu

The African Charter on Human and People’s rights are part of the laws of Nigeria and courts must abide by the laws without pandering to the aim of the Executive, the appeal court said.

Treason charges

Mr Kanu has repeatedly called for the breakaway of a significant chunk of southern Nigeria to form the Republic of Biafra.

On October 2015, he was arrested by Nigerian authorities on an 11-count charge bordering on “terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods, among others.”

He was granted bail on April 2017 for medical reasons.

However, Mr Kanu fled the country in September 2017 after an invasion of his home by the military in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State.

He was then sighted in Israel and later continued to rally his supporters in Nigeria to employ violence in achieving secession.

“He has, upon jumping bail, been accused of engaging in subversive activities that include inciting violence through television, radio and online broadcasts against Nigeria and Nigerian State and institutions,” Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said after Kanu was rearrested and brought back to Nigeria in June 2021.

“Kanu was also accused of instigating violence especially in the Southeastern Nigeria that resulted in the loss of lives and property of civilians, military, para military, police forces and destruction of civil institutions and symbols of authorities.”

Mr Kanu has denied any wrongdoing.

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