Ministry of trade: How Special Economic Zone Company got into our budget

The ministry of industry, trade and finance says the Special Economic Zone Company is a public private partnership project of the federal government.

In an email sent to TheCable on Tuesday explaining why the company was included in its budget, the ministry said the company was established under the Made in Nigeria for Exports project, a presidential initiative.

The senate committee for industry and investment had rejected the ministry’s budget on Monday over the inclusion of the company in the budget.

The committee told Okechukwu Enelamah, the minister of industry, trade and investment (pictured), that the company is not one of the 17 agencies under the ministry hence it was inappropriate for it to be included in the budget.

“The Federal Government’s Economic Recovery & Growth Plan (ERGP) identified the development of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) as a major strategic tool to accelerate the implementation of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP),” the ministry said.

“And Project MINE was envisioned by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (MITI) to develop SEZs to world standards.

“In June, 2018, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved NSEZCO, with the endorsement of the Economic Management Team, as the holding entity for FGN investments and proprietary interests in existing and future SEZs.

“The FEC approval also provides that all current and future capital appropriations for Project MINE should be transferred to NSEZCO’s account, as soon as opening formalities are completed.

“With the formalities completed, NSEZCO became the platform through which Federal Government’s capital budget appropriations for SEZs are converted into long term value creating investments.

“NSEZCO is a public private partnership (PPP) company to operate world-class standards of governance and management, to facilitate mobilization of capital and other resources from PPP partners, in order to overcome budgetary constraints to the provision of critical infrastructure for SEZs.”

The ministry further explained that the ministry of finance Incorporated (MOFI) is the shareholder, holding the FG’s interest of 25% in NSEZCO.

“The balance of 75% is currently held in trust on behalf of other prospective shareholders, pending completion of investors’ diligence and documentation and approval procedures.”

Already, the company is said to have signed three investment agreements with Afreximbank, Bank of Industry, the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and Ministry of Finance Incorporated.

The ceremony, which held at the Presidential Villa, was said to have been presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The ministry listed some of the projects being carried out by the company to include Enyimba Economic City, Abia, Lekki Model Industrial Park, Lagos and Funtua Cotton Cluster, Katsina while some others are in pre-development stage.