By Godfrey Bivbere
Managing Director of the Nigerian Exports Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Mr. Sina Agboluaje has said that optimum ultilisation of Lagos Deep Off_Shore Logistics (LADOL) base would create thousand of jobs for Nigerians, as well as save for nationâ€™s economy about N1.5 billion ($10 million).
Agboluaje who disclosed this in Lagos while leading members of the Inter-ministerial Committee on Free-Zones, said that the N10 billion paid to foreign companies for rendering support s in the nationâ€™s oil and gas industry, wouldÂ remain in the country.
He pointed out that the indigenous companies that would benefit from the participation in the area of operation would engage more Nigerians as the operations increase.
The five-man committee comprises of Mr. Agboluaje who is the representative of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Commerce; the Director, Fiscal Policy/Budget Monitoring of the Finance ministry, Chief Owoade Omoni; and representatives of the Customs and Immigration Services, and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
Giving an insight into the scope of the committee’s work, Agboluaje said the committee was essentially set up by government to reconfirm the status earlier given to LADOL as a free zone as well as to physically verify what the organisation was doing to justify its approval.
According to him, the whole exercise was in pursuant to the ideals of the Fiscal Policy of the Finance Ministry in ensuring that whatever approvals given by the ministry are in order and still valid for the purposes for which they were given.
He pointed out that having gone round the facility, members of the committee would now meet to articulate their views and make its reports to the appropriate authority.
The LADOL boss however noted that from his personal view as NEPZA boss, the authority was convinced that the objectives behind the setting up of LADOL was being realised in terms of local content, jobs creation and above all, the preservation of foreign exchange .
â€œIt is evident to say that from the beginning, the facilities here were set up with a view to enhancing the participation of Nigerians in the oil and gas industry.
Donâ€™t forget that the industry is a major source of income to the Federal Government, and you know that beyond the lifting ofÂ crude oil, there are other activities that support this venture, like servicing the oil rigs, developing the rigs, maintenance and building of buoys, and several others.
â€œAll these are cost-related expenditure within the oil business, and most times all people get to know about is the cost government incures in the process of crude oil explorations.
These costs are real and most often paid out to foreign companies, but with increased local content, such payments now circulate within the countryâ€, he explained.
The NEPZA boss further noted that within a short time of its inception, LADOL had participated in major NNPC projects such as Moisimi and Agbami deep off-shore facilities adding that â€œthis is a way of taking our local share in the business.
The more of such facilities like LADOL are developed, the more we can enhance our local shares in the industryâ€ he said.