Nigeria moves to halt rejection of exports 

FG suspends licensing of free trade zones
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo


The Federal Government has approved the National Quality Policy to stop rejection of Nigerian goods exported out of the country.

The approval was given at the 31st virtual Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, the Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, said the essence of the policy was to ensure goods exported out of Nigeria are accepted in the countries they are being exported to.

He said, “For a long time, Nigerian exporters have been suffering because of lack of quality of their goods. We felt that it was high time we actually have a policy which will create a situation whereby standard of the Nigerian goods that are exported would be raised, such that that rejection would stop.

“This policy will create a situation whereby the government and the private sector will be able to collaborate to set up quality testing centers, testing labs which we hope will have accreditation with international centers, such that any good that has been approved to have met the standard, would be of international standard.”

The minister said the council also approved the Nigerian/Hungarian trade agreement. He said the agreement between the two countries have now been ratified. The whole essence is for Nigerian businessmen to have access to export their goods to Hungary and to further increase trade between the two countries.

He further said council also approved a N50 million variation of power contract in the Kano Free Trade Zone.

The memo, he said was on behalf of the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA), explaining that a contract was awarded in 2018 for underground cabling for power project within the Kano Free Trade Zone but unfortunately it was not completed before certain specification changes were made.

He said, So the contractor requested a variation of six percent increase of the initial contract sum, which amounted to about N50 million. Council has approved that variation and the job which has reached 93 percent completion will be completed within the next six months.”

Adebayo said, council also approved another contract for Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority, for the purchase of a property in Lagos to be used as their Lagos zonal office.

“As you are aware, Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority is responsible for all the free trade zones in the country, the value of the free trade zones in the Lagos area alone is valued at about $30 billion. So for proper collation and oversight of these free trade zones, we felt that it is only right that we have the zonal office of the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority in the Lagos area and that has been approved by council.”

Also briefing the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the council approved the contract for the design and deployment of a contract performance and compliance for highway and road management system at the sum of N203,845,332.50.

Fashola said, “This is an information and communication technology device being procured by the ministry in order to improve its capacity to monitor not only contract performance but also maintenance of its roads and to empower not only its 36 controllers in each of the state of the federation but also, the six zonal directors to improve our service delivery.

“The importance of deploying the ICT now perhaps would be better appreciated when it is understood that we have over 13,000 kilometers of road networks at different stages of construction or rehabilitation as at the close of December 2020.

“And those 13,000 plus kilometers are manifest in over 700 different contracts. I continue to explain this that some of our roads are so long that we have five different contractors. Like the Kano-Maiduguri road for example, we have five different contractors there, Benin to Lokoja, we have five different contractors there and so on and so forth. “So we have different contracts to manage and so we are deploying ICT there. Upon full deployment, one of the things you will see is that, citizens will be expected to become army of reporters providing us with information so that we can respond more quickly. Because, this will be a web based reporting and monitoring system.”

The minister said council also approved the ratification of the emergency roads repair done in Zamfara State in 2016 caused by a heavy rainfall. He said the rain had washed out Gumi bridge, Dakitawa, Kebbi to Sokoto State border, and Gusau to Talata Mafara to Sokoto border.

He said, “The contract was awarded under the public procurement act in emergency situations as provisional contracts. So we had to go through procurement process, file reports of completion and then come to seek ratification.

“So, the work had since been completed but the paper work has now led us here. And the ratification was granted today by FEC for N7,923,706,078.86.”