By Emmanuella Anokam
The Oil and Gas Free Trade Zones Authority (OGFZA) says it has attracted $16.6 billion Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) into the economy within a 20 year period covering 2001 and 2020.
The Managing Director, OGFZA, Mr Okon Umana, disclosed this on Sunday while speaking with newsmen in Abuja.
Umana said during the same period, the authority also attracted the sum of N255.33 billion local investments into the country.
According to him, between January and May 2021, the sum of N9.41 billion has been generated as revenue by OGFZA through the free trade zones.
He further revealed that the revenue showed that N2.1 billion was generated in January, while February, March, April and May had N1.45 billion, N4.39 billion, N1 billion and N453.98 million respectively.
Speaking on its developmental stride, he said that within the last few years, there had been great improvement in the operations of the free zones.
This, he said was achieved through dedicated leadership as well as the commitment and exceptional quality of members of staff of the Authority.
The managing director stated that currently, there were about N6.1 billion investments that were being expected to materialise in the Liberty Oil and Gas Free Zone.
“To grow investment also meant looking at the structures within our zones because as I said you can only attract FDI if you are globally competitive.
“We took a number of steps, we reviewed our standard of operation, we came out with timeline for delivery of our services.
“For example, in the past we did not have a specific timeline for renewal of license or to reissue new licenses or even to process cargos.
“We came up with specific timelines – we say for example that we will take only 48 hours to clear cargos, if the cargos where consigned in Free Zones.
“It will take seven days to renew license when all the requirements have been met and it will take 21 days to issue a new license and when all the requirements have been met, he said”
The OGFZA boss stated that the investments had been able to unlock many direct and indirect jobs thereby empowering many Nigerians.
He said that between 2005 and 2015, the authority created 40,508 direct jobs and indirect jobs with conservative estimate at about 160,000.
“This incentives are applied for activities within zones meaning that when they move items from the zone to any other place all the taxes will be applied,” he said. (NAN)