The Oil and Gas Free Trade Zones Authority (OGFZA) said it had attracted $16.6 billion in foreign direct investments (FDIs) into the economy between 2001 and 2020. Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of OGFZA, Mr Umana Okon Umana, disclosed this to journalists in Abuja at the weekend.
Umana also said a total of 200, 508 jobs had been created by the authority. He said during the same period, the authority also attracted N255.33 billion in local investments into the country.
The managing director pointed out that between January and May this year, the sum of N9.41 billion was generated as revenue by OGFZA through the free trade zones.
Further breakdown indicated 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.
Commenting on the developmental role of the agency, Umana said within the last few years, there had been great improvement in the operations of the free zones. He said this was achieved through dedicated leadership as well as the commitment and exceptional quality of members of staff of the authority.
This, he stated, had resulted in huge interests by both local and foreign investors in the zones. Umana said, currently, about N6.1 billion worth of investments were being expected to materialise in the Liberty Oil and Gas Free Zone.
The managing director said, “To grow investment also meant looking at the structures within our zones because, as I said, you can only attract foreign direct investment if you are globally competitive.
“We took a number of steps, we reviewed our standard of operation, and we came out with a timeline for delivery of our services.
“For example, in the past, we did not have a specific timeline for renewal of a licence 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 were consigned in free zones. It will take seven days to renew the licence when all the requirements have been met and it will take 21 days to issue a new license when all the requirements have been met.”
In terms of job creation, however, the OGFZA boss stated that the investments had been able to unlock many direct and indirect jobs, thereby empowering many Nigerians. He pointed out that between 2005 and 2015, the authority created 40,508 direct jobs and indirect jobs with a conservative estimate of about 160,000.
According to him, “These 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.
“Between 2005-2015, the authority has created 40,508 direct jobs and indirect jobs, with a conservative estimate it is about 160,000.”
Umana said considering the number of individuals that had been trained by expertise and various companies that came in, the actual figure from 2010 to 2020 was 35,170.