Exporters want modular refineries in free zones

Managing Director of OGFZA, Umana Okon Umana

The Association of Nigerian Exporters (ANE) has called for the establishment of modular refineries in the nation’s oil and gas free zones.Speaking during a courtesy call on the Managing Director of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA), Mr. Umana Okon Umana, in Abuja, the President of ANE, Chief Sunny Jackson Udoh explained that locating modular refineries in the oil and gas free zones would cut cost of such investments because of the regime of incentives that exempts free zone enterprises from import duties and other forms of taxation.

Chief Udoh advised the Federal Government to appoint OGFZA the “lead agency for the establishment of the modular refineries in the oil producing areas to replace the “illegal refineries,” adding that they should be modeled on the US export-oriented refineries to produce special products such as aviation fuel and industrial raw materials. He said the advocated policy on modular refineries should go together with the establishment of oil and gas free zones in all oil producing states as a means of diversifying the economy.

The exporters association also called on the Federal Government to allow OGFZA to benefit from the 7per cent import surcharge fund set aside for port-based agencies of government. Recalling that the Presidency in 2006 approved the inclusion of OGFZA in the sharing of the import surcharge fund following the recommendation of the National Council on Commerce, the ANE president, Chief Udoh, said the income would enable OGFZA to provide facilities in the free zones to enhance the ease of doing business.

He commended the Federal Government on the policy that allows goods manufactured in the free zones to be exported into the Nigerian Customs Territory, irrespective of whether such goods are on the import prohibition list.

The ANE president also commended the leadership of OGFZA on positive changes in the free zones such as review of excessive tariffs; licensing of a new oil and gas free zone developer; the drive to facilitate the birth of new free zones to generate more jobs; and collaboration between OGFZA and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board to ensure higher level of value addition in free zone manufacturing processes.

The association made a couple of other advocacies, including suggestions that the Federal Government should set up a “dedicated statutory fund” for OGFZA to finance infrastructure development in the free zones. They called for ANE-OGFZA collaboration in the promotion of investment roadshows, and expressed support for the ongoing process to amend the OGFZA law.

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Umana Okon Umana
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