The Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) has opened discussions with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to forge closer ties on a range of issues from use of land in the ports where oil and gas free zones are located to strategic cooperation.

The strategic engagement move between the two government agencies began at the weekend when the Managing Director of OGFZA, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, paid a courtesy call on the Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, at the NPA head office in Lagos.

Briefing Usman on the series of reforms and progress in the free zones since he took over as Chief Executive Officer in September 2016, Umana said more would be achieved with greater support and cooperation of the NPA.

He proposed a partnership agreement in which the NPA would cede lands to OGFZA in the nation’s seaports hosting oil and gas free zones to free up access to land for investors in the form of subleases.

 Suggesting that the proposal should be formalised with a memorandum of understanding (MoU), Umana explained that OGFZA would administer such leaseholds in collaboration with the NPA.

He emphasised that collaboration between OGFZA and the NPA on land use and other policy issues would have positive impact on the ease of doing business in the free zones in line with the policy thrust of the federal government.

The NPA Managing Director, Usman, commended the managing director of OGFZA on his efforts to sanitise the free zones by insisting that all licensees comply with extant laws and regulations and pledged unflinching support to OGFZA in the bid to realise the full objectives and potential of the oil and gas free zones.

She expressed full support for Umana’s position that OGFZA and NPA needed to strengthen their collaboration to ensure that a level playing field is provided for all licensees and concessionaires.

She pledged to direct port managers in the nation’s seaports to work more closely with OGFZA, promising ever ready support to new and existing investors in the free zones with regard to approval for facility upgrade and other material need.

 In particular, she said the Notore Channel would be dredged to boost economic activities in Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone.