By Soni Daniel
Managing Director of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, Mr Umana Okon Umana, has been told of the diversion of cargoes meant for the nation’s oil and gas free zones as a major threat to realisation of government’s set revenue target and attainment of the full potential of the free zone havens.
Briefing Umana on the operation of the free zone in Onne, Rivers State during a visit to the offices of the Integrated Logistics Services (Intels), a key investor in and a concessionaire of Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone, the chief executive officer, Mr Andrew Dawes, described the diversion of oil and gas free zone cargoes to private jetties as the greatest single threat to the success of the oil and gas free trade hubs in the country.
Dawes sought the help of the free zones authority to end the problem of cargo diversion by enforcing existing laws and regulations meant to protect government policy and private sector investments in the oil and gas free trade hubs.
He said cargo diversion was an unacceptable trade practice because it undercut government’s revenue and discouraged private sector investments in the oil and gas free zones.
The Intels MD explained that government lost revenue to cargo diversion because its agencies, charged with the responsibility for collecting revenues on cargoes, were usually not represented at the private jetties to collect revenue for government.
He also explained that private investors could not recover the cost of their investments in the free trade hubs when businesses were diverted to private jetties, which he explained were not adequately equipped to handle cargoes.