Mkpoikana Udoma 21 June 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, OGFZA, has stopped all charges on containers imported into the nation’s oil and gas free zones to cut the cost of doing business.
This was made known in a letter signed on behalf of the Managing Director of OGFZA by the Head of Operations and Technical Services, Mr Adekunle Ajayi.
The letter directed the West Africa Container Terminal, WACT, (the company that was charging the fees) to suspend the imposition of the levy at once.
The letter dated May 23rd, 2017 stopped WACT from collecting the levy which was called ‘oil related cargo delivery charge’.
It explained that the levy was not authorised by OGFZA and was, therefore, in violation of section 11 of the Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone Regulations 2003 which states that, “the Authority shall issue a schedule of tariffs which shall apply in the Free Zone and which shall be reviewed from time to time and copies made available to the licensees operators.”
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of OGFZA, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, has described the cancellation of the unauthorised container levy as a significant expression of commitment by authority to the Federal Government policy on the ease of doing business and a vote for due process.
Umana said there was need to do all that is proper to help free zones investors who have felt the pinch of the economic downturn on their bottom line.
Similarly, the Exporters’ Association of Nigeria has hailed the decision of OGFZA as a welcome development and good news to exporters who were already complaining about the terminal charges.
Director-General of the Association, Prince Joseph Idiong, said his office received a written complaint from association members in July, last year not just about the levy but about an increase in the charge per container.
Idiong explained that following the complaint, the association wrote to the World Bank office on global competitiveness, asking them to intervene and get the Nigerian government to do something about the tariff.