March 18, 2020

FG begins review of oil and gas  free zones in Nigeria

Crude oil price hits $65.85 per barrel after OPEC, Non-OPEC meeting

BY Victoria Ojeme

The Federal Government has said that it has began review of the Act establishing Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) in Nigeria.

Minister of Industry,  Trade and Investment Mr Adeniyi Adebayo,  called for stakeholders input while declaring open a stakeholder’s forum to review the OGFZA Act no 8 of 1996.

Adebayo explained  that the review is to remove ambiguities and enhance effectiveness in the sector.

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OGFZA is the government agency which promotes investments in the nation’s oil and gas free zones.

The stakeholder’s forum was organised by the ministry to examine the OGFZAact and the imperative of addressing imperfections in the act through an amendment bill to reposition the agency.

The minister said review of the OGFZA act based on the experience and observation that the act required a serious review to remove ambiguities and inconsistencies to achieve clarity and enhance effectiveness.

He said over the years, the inadequacy of the act led to avoidable inter-agency conflicts and hampered OGFZA in the execution of its mandate, hence the decision to create a platform to engage stakeholders for best possible outcome.

“Nigeria is the pioneer in Specialised Economic Zones (SEZs) with  the establishment of the first oil and gas free zone Act No 8 of March 29, 1996 in Onne, Rivers,  which was supervised at the time by the then Ministry of Commerce.

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“The  ministry will also look at the situations in all the agencies under the ministry with a view to repositioning them for the important task of developing the non-oil sector.

He urged the forum to take a close look and suggest pathways for the legal framework that would make OGFZA act the most effective oil and gas free zone regulatory agency.

Amb. Mariam Katagum, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment said the ministry had consistently delivered on the promise to promote economic growth.

This she noted the ministry had done by championing creation of jobs and drive for  inclusive growth while promoting integration of Nigeria based businesses into regional and global value chains.