The Federal Government realised $2 billion (N611 billion) as revenue from the operation of the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone through the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) within the last six years.
Umana Okon Umana, Managing Director of Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA), disclosed this at the first session of the Nigeria Business Roundtable recently held in Lagos.
The Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone was developed by INTELS Nigeria Limited to attract Foreign Direct Investment, create employment as well as enhance Nigeria’s technological and industrial advancement. The zone, which hosts the operation of more than 170 companies, is one of the fastest growing in the world.
Umana said one of the keys to attaining greater productivity and growth in the economy is making use of the potential of a free trade zone which offers an increase in investment, job creation and exports.
He said free trade zones also provide companies with streamlined regulations, reduced tax obligations and state-of-the-art infrastructure.
According to him, the Federal Government is also introducing further reforms into the operation of free trade zones in the country, culminating in the reduction of license renewal duration from 14 days to 48 hours for investors that meet all requirements in line with the ease-of-doing business policy of the Federal Government.
“Statistics show that there are three million companies arising from over 5,000 free trade zones around the world which accounts for over 45 million jobs, all showing efficacy of having an effective free trade zone in a global perspective. Free trade Zone in developing countries can drive growth in different sectors not only in oil and gas, attract increased foreign investment inflow, create employment, transfer skills and technology,” Umana added.
By Pita Ochai