UMANA SECURES MALAYSIA’S SUPPORT FOR OIL & GAS FREE ZONE
The managing director of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA), Mr Umana Okon Umana has said that the nation’s oil and gas free zones should be Nigeria’s first ports of call for foreign direct investments because the Authority has mouth-watering incentives and benefits to investors who set up businesses in the oil and gas free zones.
Speaking to the Malaysian High Commissioner, Lim Juay Jim, during a visit to the Malaysian High Commission in Abuja on Friday, Umana said the benefits for investors include zero tax from federal, state and local tax authorities; zero levies and rates (that is no corporate tax, withholding tax, value added tax and capital gain tax); 100% foreign ownership; 100% repatriation of profit and dividends; 100% repatriation of foreign capital investment. He said other benefits to the investor include streamlined documentation that makes for fast-tracking of all business transactions.
Umana explained to High Commissioner Jim that there were functioning and vibrant oil and gas free zones in Onne, Rivers State; Warri in Delta State and Apapa in Lagos, adding that the OGFZA was developing additional oil and gas free zones in Brass, Bayelsa State; Ikpokiri, which is contiguous with Onne in Rivers State and Ibaka in Akwa Ibom State.
He told the High Commissioner that the new oil and gas free zones being developed in Brass, Ibaka and Ikpokiri, including the developed ones in Onne, warri and Lagos, presented viable and irresistible opportunities for investors to take advantage of and become part of the profitable history of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. He said there were opportunities for the development of infrastructure such as roads and power plants to provide dedicated electric power for the oil and gas free trade hubs.
Umana also explained that attractive opportunities for downstream industries like refineries, manufacturing of pipes for the oil and gas sector and other related industrial goods as well as infrastructure existed for investors in the free zones, adding that the oil and gas Authority was willing to partner with any investors using the public-private partnership (PPP) model to achieve its mandate and business plan. He said the success recorded in the Onne free zone derived from the PPP business model.
High Commissioner Jim expressed joy at the visit and the presentation made by the chief executive of the OGFZA, promising to visit the OGFZA headquarters with a delegation of Malaysian investors to explore investment opportunities in keeping with the strong historical and economic ties between Nigeria and Malaysia.
High Commissioner Jim explained that Malaysia has for long seen Nigeria as the economic hub of Africa, explaining that it was Nigeria’s economic weight that made Malaysia to relocate its Africa trade mission from Nairobi to Lagos. He said though Nigeria was currently going through a recession, Malaysia expects the country to bounce back soon.
Umana was accompanied on the visit by the head of trade and investment at OGFZA, Adamu Kontagora; head of legal department and company secretary, Barr. Abduwasiu Sule and Maurice Etim, Chairman of Aurum Energy Maritime and Construction Limited.