OGFZA bill: Umana backs amendment bid with record performance report

Managing Director of OGFZA,  Umana Okon Umana

Managing Director of OGFZA, Umana Okon Umana

At the public hearing on the bill to amend the OGFZA Act of 1996, the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) argued that amending the enabling law to strengthen OGFZA and make it more effective was the right thing to do for an agency of government that has recorded outstanding achievements since it began operations in 2000.

In a paper to the public hearing, the managing director of OGFZA, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, reported that the zones grew by 32 per cent in less than two years after OGFZA took charge of the management and regulatory control of the free zones, compared to the growth rate of 2.11 per cent before OGFZA assumed control.

Umana said the positive impact of OGFZA’s management and regulatory control of the oil and gas free zones was manifest in all aspects of the nation’s economy—from shipping traffic at the ports to inflow of foreign direct investments and revenue to government.

He argued that they should only be assisted to perform better through the right legal framework, which, he said the amendment was seeking to achieve.

Against the background of contrarian argument by opponents of the bill that the amendment should not be allowed, and that OGFZA should be scrapped or merged with the Nigerian Export Processing Authority (NEPZA), Umana told the hearing that it was on record that Nigeria pioneered the concept of special free zones for oil and gas business, noting that the concept has become so successful that it has now been copied by other countries.

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