By Emmanuella Anokam
Abuja, Aug. 14, 2020 The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) says it will partner with Lagos Government to train its staff to be deployed in the proposed Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Units across the Free Trade Zones.
The plan was broached when a team of Lekki Free Trade Zone Worldwide led by Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo, visited NEPZA Managing Director, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba.
This development, when fully concretised, would see Lagos State Safety Commission deploying its expertise and equipment to train and provide the necessary support for staff of the proposed NEPZA Safety Unit.
According to a statement by Mr Martins Odeh, Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA on Friday in Abuja, the HSE unit will improve safety in the free trade zones.
“We shall be welcoming Lagos State partnership with NEPZA to train some of our staff on Health, Safety, Security and Environmental protocols to curb fatality incidents in the free trade zones.
“The authority will also undertake assessment of safety issues in all free trade zones with a view to forestalling safety breaches.
“If there was a communication gap between us and the state, the authority will henceforth bridge it.
“Our relationship must remain cordial as both parties have the same goals and objectives of ensuring the success of Lekki as a world class free trade zone,’’ the NEPZA boss said.
Adesugba said that NEPZA was more than ready to assuage the concerns of the state on the present status of Lekki zone, adding that the cooperation of all parties was required to solve whatever problems existed.
He expressed gladness that the state had already activated the Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism by the visit, adding that he found resolving issues without litigation very interesting.
“By law, NEPZA is also empowered to have its own Dispute Resolution Center.
“We are in the process of developing a center that is independent, transparent and can be approached by aggrieved parties operating in the zones without necessarily going to court,’’ Adesugba said.
The NEPZA managing director also said the authority was working hard to deepen the industrialisation processing for the country.
He urged investors and states to take advantage of the new normal occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic to exploit the free trade zones in order to benefit from accompanied incentives of the scheme.
Onigbanjo, on his part, said that the easy access to the NEPZA Managing Director showed that the authority was prepared to cooperate and partner with the state in so many fronts.
He said that the state would not hesitate in collaborating with the agency to set up a world class Health, Safety and Environmental unit that could help mitigate fatalities in the various zones.
According to him, the Lagos State government has the expertise, technology and equipment to deal with fatality incidents across all spheres