Umana lauds National Assembly’s move to amend OGFZA, NEPZA laws
The National Assembly has been commended for beginning the amendment of the principal Acts of both the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA).
The Managing Director of OGFZA, Mr Umana Okon Umana, who gave the commendation while speaking with journalists in his office in Onne, Rivers State, said his expectation was that when the amendments are passed they would remove imperfections in the two laws, thereby putting both OGFZA and NEPZA on the path to fulfilling their mandates for the good of the economy and benefit of all Nigerians.
According to Umana, efforts to amend the laws have come at the right time when the Federal Government is focused on the drive to diversify the economy. He explained that while the amendments would deepen specialisation and efficiency in the oil and gas sector, they are at the same time expected to strongly encourage investment in the non-oil sector.
He said that OGFZA recently unveiled a three-year strategic roadmap which is aimed at growing investment in the oil and gas free zones by 50 per cent in the next three years. He stated that the roadmap reflected the vision of the oil and gas free zone agency to be the premier agency of government for the promotion of investment in the nation’s oil and gas free zones.
Umana said one of the means to more investments in the free zones is by way of more access to OGFZA through its repackaged and robust website and the publication of a biweekly newsletter to enhance interaction with existing and prospective investors. He added that the drive for new investments would be facilitated by a corporate culture of integrity, respect for investors and due process, transparency and accountability, as well as passion for and customer-centric engagement with investors.
He said the oil and gas free zones have had a track record of success in attracting investments, having brought in more than $20 billion worth of investments since inception and created more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs. On the revenue side, the OGFZA MD said between January 2010 and December 2015, the Nigeria Customs Service generated revenue of N143.2 billion from the oil and gas free zones alone, while the Nigerian Ports Authority generated $2.1 billion and N19.3 billion also from the oil and gas free zones.
Nigeria is credited as the very first country in the world to dedicate a free trade zone to the oil and gas sector. Economic experts around the world have continued to applaud the Federal Government for this initiative. Hence, Onne OGFZ has been globally acknowledged as the most successful in Africa by the Times magazine of London.
Because of Nigeria’s initiative, India is setting up an exclusive petroleum economic zone for service providers in the oil and gas industry to contribute not only to domestic exploration and production, but would help become a global sourcing hub in their regional market and beyond.
Myanmar also signed an agreement with China National Petroleum Corporation on May 26, 2014 in Naypyitaw for the development of Kyauk Phiju Special Economic Zone with a distinct management authority.