Minister calls the development, positive.
The Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone has attracted over $200 million (N31.75 billion) since 2013, in addition to about $4 billion (N635 billion) capital investment recorded so far, said the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga.
The minister was speaking during the second edition of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Investment Forum, in Onne, Rivers State, on the theme, Investment Opportunities in the Upstream and Downstream Sectors of the Oil and Gas Industry.
He noted that the development was a positive one for the Nigerian economy in the face of global economic challenges.
“This is indeed a remarkable progress when considered in the light of a weak global economy and the cut-throat competition, even among emerging and advanced economies for the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment,” he said.
The Minister said that owing to the tremendous success the country had recorded through its Free Zone policy, more local and foreign investors had renewed their interests in investing in the Free Zones.
He disclosed that there was increased demand from the sub-national level of government for a replication of Free Zones in other parts of the country.
With Nigeria occupying a strategic position in Africa, and globally, due to its abundant human and raw materials base, in addition to its hugely untapped investment opportunities, he said an avalanche of applications for setting up business enterprises in the various Free Trade Zones had kept pouring in from prospective investors.
He, however, stressed that in line with President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda, anchored on inclusive economic growth and diversification through job creation and wealth generation, his Ministry was committed to partnering with the private sector and other Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, of the Federal and State Governments, to provide a conducive environment for local and foreign investors to invest in Nigeria.
“Nigeria is currently a high growth, high returns environment. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD, reports for 2011 and 2012 ranked Nigeria as Africa’s number one destination for Foreign Direct Investment, FDI,” he said.
“Also, Nigeria has been ranked fourth globally in terms of average returns on investments at 35.5 per cent, which is higher than global average. This is in response to the abundant investment opportunities that exist in our country. Over the years, we have been an import-dependent country. But there is now a paradigm shift, which has begun through the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan.”
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, said Nigeria had a lot of investment opportunities that investors needed to tap into in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of the nation’s economy, particularly by way of direct participation or partnership with International Oil Companies.
“There are ongoing efforts aimed at domesticating the value chain in the oil and gas sector through setting up of petrochemical industrial parks, deepening the local content through participation of indigenous companies and provision of fiscal incentives to boost investment in the sector,” the Minister said.
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