David Smith
Fri, Aug 4, 2023 10:45 PM

NEPZA Launches Dispute Resolution Center to Boost Investments in Free Trade Zones

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NEPZA Launches Dispute Resolution Center to Boost Investments in Free Trade Zones
The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has introduced the NEPZA Dispute Resolution Center (NDRC) to enhance the country's Free Trade Zones as favorable investment destinations. The center aims to provide a cost-effective and efficient way to resolve disputes within the free trade zone landscape. The NEPZA DRC draws inspiration from international arbitration frameworks and encourages investors and employees to seek its services for conflict resolution.

The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has taken a significant step to solidify the country's Free Trade Zones as vibrant and attractive hubs for investment. In a virtual ceremony, NEPZA launched the NEPZA Dispute Resolution Center (NDRC), signaling its commitment to creating an environment free from conflicts and disputes.

The NEPZA DRC is envisioned as an internationally inspired arbitration framework for resolving disputes within the free trade zone landscape. By establishing this state-of-the-art center, NEPZA aims to provide a seamless and cost-effective method of resolving commercial disputes that may arise in these zones. The NDRC draws its strength from established international alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as the Singapore Convention on Mediation, New York Convention on Arbitration, and Nigeria's own Arbitration and Mediation Act of 2023.

The center, located at NEPZA's headquarters, boasts a team of legal professionals who have expertise in various areas of law. The primary objective of the NDRC is to prioritize the well-being of investors and provide them with a streamlined and efficient approach to dispute resolution. Instead of engaging in protracted legal battles, NEPZA encourages investors to explore the cost-effective and time-efficient services offered by the center.

Not only will the NDRC address disputes between investors, but it will also serve as a platform for resolving employment-related issues within the free trade zone ecosystem. Employees who face conflicts with their employers can also seek resolution through the center, ensuring a fair and conducive work environment.

Speaking at the inauguration, Adesoji Adesugba, the Managing Director of NEPZA, emphasized the importance of creating a business-friendly environment that fosters global investment competitiveness. He expressed his confidence that the NDRC would play a pivotal role in achieving this goal.

The launch of the NDRC has received widespread support from various stakeholders. Chief Ameka Obegolu, the First-Deputy President of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), commended NEPZA for taking the initiative to establish a Dispute Resolution Center. He acknowledged that disputes are inevitable in any commercially viable entity and emphasized the need for a mechanism that accommodates the concerns of investors.

Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, former Attorney-General of the Federal (AGF), lauded NEPZA for its forward-thinking approach. He highlighted the importance of building investors' confidence and urged the Authority to promote the center aggressively.

During the webinar, panelists provided valuable insights into the benefits and workings of the NDRC. Dr. Agada Elechi, the President of the Institute of Chartered Mediation and Conciliation (ICMC), emphasized the binding nature of the center's outcomes as per the provisions of the Arbitration and Mediation Act 2023. Dr. Amy Jadesimi, MD/CEO of LADOL, touched upon the negative perception that foreign investors may have about investing in Nigeria and stated that the NDRC would contribute to creating a more predictable business environment.

The establishment of the NEPZA Dispute Resolution Center represents a significant step towards positioning Nigeria's Free Trade Zones as preferred destinations for international investments. By offering a cost-effective and efficient mechanism for resolving commercial disputes, NEPZA aims to create an environment that encourages global competitiveness and fosters long-term economic growth.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-08-04 News

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