The Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) is to set up the structure that will help Eko Support Services Limited, an Apapa, Lagos-based oil and gas free zone, to fully function as and enjoy the complete benefits of an oil and gas free zone as provided for in the extant regulations of OGFZA and its establishment Act of 1996.
Making the regulatory plan known while visiting Eko Support during the week, the Managing Director of OGFZA, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, said OGFZA would help Eko Support to take full advantage of its free zone licence and exercise the full authority of its free zone status by adopting a standard operating procedure that has been fully tested at Onne Free Zone and keyed into the Executive Order of the federal government on the Ease of Doing Business.
“A licence is a piece of paper, what you make of the licence is the issue,” Umana told the management team of Eko Support led by Seni Edu, the General Manager of the free zone, who was on hand to receive the visiting team from OGFZA.
“We have a model in Onne that is working. We would adapt the model and even improve on it by setting up a structure to run the system” for the benefits of the operator, clients and government.
He said OGFZA would have to interface with government for the free zone operator and investors with regard to taxes, immigration, customs, security and other regulatory issues by setting up a one-stop shop infrastructure to enhance the ease of doing business in the zone.
In a presentation to the OGFZA team, Edu listed a number of concerns that he wanted the OGFZA to look into, including space constraint and policy direction.
Addressing the question of space constraint at Eko Support, Umana agreed that the free zone needed more space to optimise its operations and succeed in providing support services to its clients, adding that the space constraint challenge could be overcome by creating a sub-zone for Eko Support.
Umana equally addressed the question of apparent confusion in policy direction, saying whatever challenge there was in that regard would be fully taken care of by the ongoing review at the National Assembly of the laws setting up the regulatory agencies for free zones in the country.
“We are determined to make sure that our free zones succeed,” Umana assured Edu, leading the management team of Eko Support. “We will set up a committee to work with you and make sure all parties benefit and perform their roles.”