12 February 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Federal Government has said that the Oil and Gas Free Zones have created 200,000 direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians in addition to attracting over $20 billion in investments to the country.
A statement from the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, noted tat Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, pledged that the Federal Government would continue to support the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority and investors due to their contributions to national development.
Enelamah, who spoke at a stakeholders’ forum and the unveiling of the Roadmap of the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority organised by the agency in Onne, Rivers State, restated that government had set aside the sum of N51.4 billion for the establishment of six special economic zones in Nigeria.
Represented at the event by the Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investments, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, he explained that the measure was taken as a result of the recognition of free zones as veritable engines of growth for the economy.
Enelamah said, “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.
“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.”
The minister described the stakeholders’ forum as significant to the ministry and the current administration.
In his welcome address, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of OGFZA, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, assured federal agencies operating within various oil and gas free zones of OGFZA’s preparedness to embrace constructive dialogue and partnership that would deliver a win-win collaboration.
He said, “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, however, added that the roadmap would usher in a new era for the Oil and Gas Free Zones and improve the ease of doing business.