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Obong Umana Okon Umana

Intels seeks OGFZA help on cargo diversion, power infrastructure

Obong Umana Okon Umana
Obong Umana Okon Umana
The Managing Director of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, Mr Umana Okon Umana, on Wednesday learnt that the diversion of cargoes meant for the nation’s oil and gas free zones is a major threat to government revenue and a menace to the achievement 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 the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone, the chief executive officer of Intels, 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. Mr 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.
Dawes said cargo diversion was an unacceptable trade practice because it undercuts government revenue and discourages private sector investments in the oil and gas free zones. The Intels MD explained that government loses revenue to cargo diversion because its agencies charged with the responsibility for collecting revenues on cargoes are usually not represented at the private jetties to collect revenue for government. He also explained that private investors cannot recover the cost of their investments in the free trade hubs when businesses are diverted to private jetties, which he explained are not adequately equipped to handle cargoes.
Umana, who also learnt that the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone is not linked to the national electricity grid, thereby making the concessionaire to burn 100,000 litres of diesel daily to power the port facility, pledged to address problems hampering the optimal operation of the oil and gas free zones in order to achieve the mandate of the free zones authority and ensure that the goals of investors in the free zones are met.
He assured investors that his administration would make sure that rules meant to protect the free zones are properly enforced, and called for the involvement of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority in the planning and execution of all port projects in which there are oil and gas free zone components. He said the OGFZA should be fully involved in the ongoing Badagry port project because of its oil and gas free zone component.
Umana explained that making OGFZA part of the execution and operation of the Badagry port project will help with the ease-of-doing-business policy of government because the free zones authority has the mandate to streamline and ease up entry processes for private sector investments.
He was taken on extensive facility tour of the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone at the end of the briefing.

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