The Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of Intels Nigeria Limited, Mr. Patrick Bird has declared that the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone offers enormous advantages and incentives to foreign companies to invest in Nigeria.
Speaking in Onne on the sidelines of the “Oil And Gas Free Zones Stakeholders Forum” organised by the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA), Bird said the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone creates the environment necessary to support Nigeria’s economic and industrial development.
The stakeholders forum was declared open by the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar.
According to Bird, Intels, along with the Government of Nigeria, developed the zone to provide an oil service centre for onshore and offshore operations while providing the West African and greater sub-Saharan oil and gas industry easy access and duty-free distribution facilities.
The Intels CCO enumerated some of the benefits of the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone, which houses 170 companies, to include 100 per cent repatriation of capital investment, full remittance of profits and dividends, zero Customs tariffs on exports and non-requirement of import or export licenses.
He also said that all goods manufactured in the free zone can be sold in the Nigerian market.
“The Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone helps Nigeria maximize its natural resources to attract foreign investments and create employment, enhance the welfare of the people, aid technology transfer and the overall economic development of the country,” he said.
He said the success of the zone has led to the creation of similar zones in Warri and Lagos.
Bird also commended OGFZA for hosting the stakeholders forum, which he said will deepen investments in the free zone.
Speaking at the event, the Managing Director of OGFZA, Mr. Umana Okon Umana said the stakeholders forum provides an opportunity to introduce the agency’s new leadership to stakeholders, “and show them the way in which we intend to work together to recreate the OGFZA and rebuild prosperity for all in successful partnerships between government and private investors in the Free Zones.”
He added, “The path of the new OGFZA is well laid out in our roadmap which we are unveiling today, along with our marketing brochure to guide existing and potential investors to the array of incentives available in our free zones.
“The roadmap is a product of our vision to be the premier investment promotion agency of government by facilitating the establishment of businesses in the Oil and Gas Free Zones with the creation of an enabling environment for investment,” Umana said.
He assured that OGFZA will improve the ease of doing business and overall service delivery to investors in line with global best practices.
“We will make the free zones the first ports of call for investors who are looking for the best opportunities in Africa, to either expand their existing businesses or start new ventures. We are thus at the threshold of a new future that will take the continuing support of government and the commitment of stakeholders to build.”
Other dignitaries at the event include the Chairman, Senate Committee on Industry, Trade and Investment, Senator Fatima Raji-Rasaki; the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi represented by the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr. Hassan Bello; the former Chairman of OGFZA, Chief Chris Asoluka; Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala Usman represented by the Executive Director, Dr. Sokonte Davies and representatives of various government agencies.