By UDEME CLEMENT
A top official of Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority, Mr. Adamu Mamman Kontagora, says Nigeria’s economy needs more of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to create jobs and pave the way for technology transfer in the system.
Kontagora explained that free zones should be used as platforms for bringing in FDI into the country, because a lot of foreign firms would like to operate within free zones to benefit from various incentives provided by the zones for investors.
His words: “we are an arm of the Federal Government and agency charged with the responsibility of attracting FDI into the country with regards to oil and gas as well as other hydro-carbon sub-sectors. For instance, we operate free zone in the country.
“Free zone is an area where government decides to create and provide incentives with other advantages with the aim of attracting FDI into the economy. We encourage any company interested in investing in the oil and gas industry to come into the country and do the business here. Companies interested can come in and operate within the free zone if they are licensed by the authority”.
He added, “At present, we have so many companies that are already in the zone. Due to the influx of FDI, acquisition/transfer technology is highly obtained in the zone.
“For instance, we have companies dealing with a lot of expatriates. There is a particular company in the zone that came in with about 120 expatriates but today, they are left with only two of them. The reason is that the company has been able to transfer the foreign technology to Nigerians who are now occupying those positions. So, the indigenes are benefiting greatly from technology transfer in form of man-power training from the firms in the zone. The zone has been in operation for over 10years now.
“So far, we have brought in many foreign firms with modern technology into the country. Even World Bank recognised our zone and declared publicly that the zone is one of the best, because within 10 years, we have attracted up to 150 foreign firms into the country. In Onne, we also have logistics that are far better than what we have in the national free zone.”