Foreign Investments in oil and gas free zones hit $75bn

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.

Source: News Express.

*Photo shows Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun.

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