House Moves to Liberalise Oil & Gas Export Free Zone



James Emejo in Abuja

A bill for an act to amend the Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Authority Act to provide for the designation and establishment of oil and gas free zones and sub zones in Nigeria passed second reading on the floor of the House of Representatives wednesday.

The bill seeks to amend Section 1 of the Act by liberalising the establishment of the oil and gas export free zone by allowing the president to designate any area within the federation as an oil and gas free zone and other zones.

Among other things, it seeks to set the tenure of the office of the managing director of the authority and also make the secretary as secretary of the board.

The Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Emmanuel Orker Jev, said liberalisation of the operations of the authority would pave the way for robust business environment.

He said one of the objectives was to subject the appointment of the chairman of the board to Senate screening and expanding the functions of the authority.

A co-sponsor of the bill,  Hon. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta (PDP, Abia), said the designation of the trade zones would further enhance investments in all parts of the country.

Supporters of the bill further argued that its passage would make business more transparent, result-oriented and less cumbersome.

House Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, referred the four proposals of the bill to the Committee on Commerce for harmonisation ahead of its third reading.