OGFZA to enforce rules on free zone operations, defaulters risk sanctions
The leadership of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) has said that it is determined to enforce all extant laws and regulations guiding operations in the oil and gas free zones.
Addressing a management meeting of the authority in Onne, the Managing Director of OGFZA, Umana Okon Umana said the agency had already issued circulars to free zone investors on the policy position.
Umana said one of the key concerns addressed in the circulars was the issue of pre-release facility by which companies post bonds to effect release of their cargoes ahead of payment of the required fees.
He explained that OGFZA had found out from reports by the customs authority in the free zones that many of such investors have failed to redeem their bonds, which is a violation of the condition precedent to the pre-release facility as contained in “section 1(b) of the memorandum of understanding between OGFZA and the clients, which provides that all customs formalities, including payment of duty and perfection of the single goods declaration will be completed within 14 days from the date the application is approved.”
He warned that those who fail to redeem their bonds within the stipulated period would not be allowed to benefit from the pre-release facility in subsequent shipments as provided for in section (5) of the MOU.
Umana assured that in upholding the laws and rule of engagement in the free zones, OGFZA would work in line with global best practices to ensure that the Federal Government Is not shortchanged in terms of revenue, and that all parties in the free zones are entitled to a level-playing field. “We promise a charter of equity and fairness to all”, the managing director said.
He added that a circular had been issued to modify and realign procedures with regard to the enforcement of applicable tariffs as well as approvals for customs, immigration and local content requirements in accordance with extant laws.