Home Business FDIs in oil, gas free zones totaling 75bn dollars

FDIs in oil, gas free zones totaling 75bn dollars


Onne (Rivers)   –   Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in Nigerian Oil and Gas Free Zones totaled 75 billion dollars (N14.7 trillion), with a lion share of 60 billion dollars (N11.8 trillion) investments in Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone.

The Managing Director of Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority (OGFZA), Mr Victor Alabo said this in Onne, Rivers, as maritime activities closed on Friday.

He said that the biggest player in Onne “is Intels Integrated logistic Service which had done massive investment within the free zone’’.

“For instance, Intels is into port development. It partnered with the Federal Ministry of Transportation in dredging the draft of the Onne port from seven metres to 12 metres.

“The last phase of Onne port investment embarked upon by Intels is about 3.5 billion dollars (N689.5 billion,’’ the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quotes Alabo as saying.

He said that under his agency’s regulation are zones like Onne, Ikpokiri, Warri, Lagos Eko Support and Brass Oil and Gas Free Zone.

According to him, others like Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics (LADOL), Snake Island, Olokola, were being regulated by Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA).

“Though the law says they should have transferred the companies under the OGFZA,’’ Alabo said.

The managing director described midstream discharge of cargoes by some terminal operators as outlawed, adding that “it has been proscribed because of the security implication’’.

He said that, “That is why the law says cargoes destined for a terminal must first come to Customs ports.’’

Alabo added that the agency (OGFZA) was looking for investments in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry because of crude oil and gas..

“We are encouraging investors to come into the free zones to use crude oil and gas to produce fertilisers, plastics and petrochemicals,’’ NAN further quotes him as saying.

The managing director said that it had been a success story in the free zones.

He noted that Onne Free Zone had been the most successful free zone because of the consistency of government policy and ingenuity brought into management of free zones.

Alabo mentioned regular stakeholders’ meeting, saying that government should provide physical and tax incentives for investors.

“If there are policy somersault, investors will lose confidence in bringing investments. We have close to 200 investors in the Onne Free Zone.

“We hope to replicate this success story in other free zones in the country. There is now good expatriate quota in the free zones. As years are going back, they are reducing the expatriate quota,’’ he said.

According to him, investors can repatriate their profits to instill confidence in other investors.

“ Most of what you see here are private sector driven-investments, consisting of training, employment and adding value . we guarantee that investors will operate in a secure environment,’’ Alabo said.

The Managing director said that companies operating in the free zones were exempted from companies’ tax and withholding tax.

He said that major challenges was the federal inland revenue service (firs) coming in to ask for withholding tax.

Alabo decried the problem of non-availability of power supply, saying OGFZA was partnering with NNPC and General Electric (GE) to bring in gas turbine to supply power to Onne Free Zone.

In the week under review, a former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo recounted how 24 ships of the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) were sold for peanuts and urged the Federal Government not to rebuild another shipping line.

Obasanjo, also a former Military Head of State, made the remark in Lagos in his address as the Chairman of a 2-day stakeholders’ conference on the maritime industry.

According to him, the NNSL and Nigeria Airways, our experience with them are really heart-breaking.

“Nineteen brand new ships were specially built for Nigeria. We did not take delivery of some of them until I left office in `1979.

“ When I came back in 1999, NNSL had been liquidated with all the 19 ships gone as well as the five ship in existence.

“Now you want to reform and build a sustainable maritime industry in Nigeria but we need to look back because reform means we want to reform,’’ the News Agency of Nigeria NAN quotes Obasanjo as saying.

He wondered why 19 ships were built in addition to five existing ones and within 20 years, the 24 ships disappeared.

The former president explained that part of the aims of the nation was to be a key player n the maritime industry and to be able to train Nigerian cadets at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa Ibom.

Also in the week, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) are reported to be at loggerheads over registration of fishing vessels.

The Director-General, Federal Department of Fisheries, Mr Mohammed Muazu, made the disclosure in an interview with NAN in Lagos at a two-day Stakeholders’ Conference on the Maritime Industry.

Muazu said that in the fishing industry, “there is the overlapping function of the different agencies in the Ministry of Transportation responsible for coordination and regulation of the maritime industry’’.

According to him, hitherto, NIMASA is responsible for registration of all fishing vessels.

He said that now, NIWA wanted the fishing industry to register the same vessels with it for the same purpose and all at a fee.

Muazu recalled that the Federal Department of Fisheries held a tripartite meeting with the agencies and the Nigerian Trawler Owners Association (NITOA).

He said that the meeting agreed that both agencies (NIMASA and NIWA) would sort out the issue with the ministry but meanwhile that

“the status quo should be maintained’’.

“While the issue is yet to be resolved, NIWA has resulted to arresting fishing vessels on the waterways.

“Apart from the fact that time wasted is money to the industry, the products they carry are perishable. These are grey areas that we believe should be looked into’’, the director -general said. (NAN)

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