By YUSUF BABALOLA, Lagos
The federal government of Nigeria realised a whopping $2 billion (N611 billion) as revenue from the operations of the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone through the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) within the last six years.
Managing director of Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA), Mr. Umana Okon Umana, disclosed this at the first session of the Nigeria Business Roundtable held in Lagos at the weekend.
The Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone was developed by INTELS Nigeria Limited to attract Foreign Direct Investment and 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 Nigerian economy is making use of the potentials 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.
He said 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 3 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.
“FTZ 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,” the OGFZA boss added.
Speaking recently at the Rivers Goldeen Jubilee Award in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, General Manager, Legal Services of INTELS Nigeria Limited, Amaopusenibo (Barrister) Mike Epelle, said the company remains fully committed to maximising, in a sustainable manner, the use of Nigerian human resources, materials, equipment and services in its operations without compromising the company’s values, quality, health, safety and environmental standards.
“INTELS has been a trusted partner to major Oil and Gas producing companies in Nigeria and a monumental logistic partner to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in the development of ports infrastructure and service in Nigeria. In over 30 years, we have added substantial value to the Nigerian Oil and Gas service industry and the operators have found our services strategic to their operations.
“In the maritime sector, INTELS’ operation as a port infrastructure developer and maritime service provider reinvigorated and brought the needed momentum and life to Nigerian ports and the maritime industry with improved capacity to serve the nation.
“These efforts by INTELS have in turn boosted earnings and contributions by these sectors to the Nigerian economy while generating the much-needed employment for Nigerians.
“To achieve our vision of providing an integrated, efficient, reliable and cost effective logistics solution to the Oil and Gas industry in Nigeria, we introduced an innovative “one-stop-shop oil service centre concept” designed to meet the growing specialised needs of oil producing companies in one location to provide an integrated, efficient, reliable and cost effective logistics solution to operators in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.
“This innovative concept has enhanced service delivery and turnaround time for Oil and Gas industry projects and thus endeared INTELS to its partners,” Amaopusenibo Epelle said on the sidelines of the award ceremony.
In 2006, INTELS was awarded concession by the Federal Government to operate Terminal A (Federal Ocean Terminal) and Terminal B (Federal Lighter Terminal) of the Onne Port Complex, which houses the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone. It also operates terminals in Warri, Calabar and Apapa ports.