The managing director, Nigeria Oil & Gas Free Zones Authority, OGFZA, Okon Umana, on Friday explained why the nation’s oil and gas free zones should be Nigeria’s premier ports of call for foreign direct investments.
Mr. Umana, who was speaking during his visit to the Malaysian High Commissioner, Lim Jim, in Abuja, said the Authority has “mouth-watering incentives and benefits to investors who set up businesses in the country’s oil and gas free zones.”
Mr. Umana identified the benefits for investors to include zero tax from federal, state and local tax authorities; zero levies and rates (no corporate tax, withholding tax, value added tax and capital gain tax) and 100 per cent foreign ownership.
Other incentives include 100 per cent repatriation of profit and dividends; 100 per cent repatriation of foreign capital investment and streamlined documentation that makes for fast-tracking of the all business transactions.
The OGFZA boss told the High Commissioner that apart from functional and vibrant oil and gas free zones in Onne, Rivers State; Warri in Delta State and Apapa in Lagos, the Authority 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 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 fresh investors to take advantage of and become part of the profitable history of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
Mr. Umana 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.
“The attractive opportunities for downstream industries, like refineries, manufacturing of pipes for the oil and gas sector and other related and industrial goods as well as infrastructure exist for investors in the free zones. The Authority is willing to partner with any investors using the public-private partnership (PPP) model to achieve its mandate and business plan,” he said.
He said the success recorded in the Onne free zone derived from the PPP provided in the business model.
The High Commissioner, in his response, expressed joy at Mr. Umana’s visit and his presentation on the activities 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.
Mr. Jim explained that for long Malaysia had seen Nigeria as the economic hub of Africa, explaining it was Nigeria’s economic weight that made Malaysia to relocate its Africa trade mission from Nairobi to Lagos.
Although Nigeria was currently going through recession, the envoy said Malaysia expected the country to bounce back soon.