Mkpoikana Udoma 15 February 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – Nigeria’s oil and gas free zones have attracted more than $20 billion investments to the country over the years, the Federal Government has revealed.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, disclosed this, saying the oil and gas free zones have, in addition, created over 200,000 direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians.
The minister made the revelations while speaking at the unveiling of the strategic roadmap for the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, OGFZA, during the agency’s stakeholders forum on oil and gas, in Onne, Rivers State.
Enelamah, represented at the event by the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investments, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, said the government will continue to support OGFZA and investors in the oil and gas free zones because they are the engine of growth for the economy.
While unveiling the OGFZA strategic roadmap, Enelamah commended the Umana Okon Umana-led leadership of OGFZA for the laudable initiative, explaining that the roadmap will chart the way forward to a successful investment drive for the oil and gas free xones.
The minister noted: “In order to underscore the critical role of the free zones as drivers of economic growth, the Federal Government in the 2017 budget estimates, made a strong policy statement in support of the concept of the free zones by setting aside a special provision of N51.4 billion for the establishment of six special economic zones (SEZs) in the country having recognised Free Zones as veritable engines of growth for the economy.
“For this reason, the Federal Government will continue to support OGFZA and investors in the oil and gas free zones because of their important contributions to national economic development.
“Over the years, the oil and gas free zones have attracted more than $20 billion in investments and created about 200,000 direct and indirect jobs. They have also facilitated the transfer of skills and technology in the oil and gas sector to Nigerians.”
Also speaking, Mr. Umana Okon Umana assured that the roadmap would create a new era for the oil and gas free zones and improve the ease of doing business.
“The path of the new OGFZA is well laid out in our roadmap, which we are unveiling today, along with our marketing brochure to guide existing and potential investors to the array of incentives available in the free zones.
“The roadmap is a product of our vision to be the premier investment promotion agency of government by facilitating the establishment of businesses in the oil and gas free zones with the creation of an enabling environment for investment,” Umana said.