OGFZA set to takeover Ladol, Snake Island as ultimatum deadline ends
Even though total investment in the Oil and Gas free Zones Authority (OGFZA) may grow to $90 billion up from current $60 billion in the next few years as OGFZA takes over the management of Snake Island and Ladol Free Trade Zones in few days, disquiet has enveloped the companies as staff fear possible mass sack.
OGFZA has issued an ultimatum to the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) to hands off from the management of Snake Island and Ladol Free Trade and is making necessary arrangement to take over the management of OK Free Trade Zone in Ogun State.
In a letter sent to the Snake Island Integrated Zone, OGFZA said the Authority have the power to take over and perform such other functions being hitherto performed by NEPZA, as they relate to export of oil and gas from any of the Nigerian Export Processing Zones.
OGFZA relied on “Section 5 (2) of the Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Act of 1996 states that “the authority shall have power to take over and perform such other functions being hitherto performed by NEPZA as they relate to export of oil and gas from any of the Nigerian Export Processing Zones established by Nigeria Export Processing Zone Act.”
The letter signed by the Managing Director of OGFZA, Umana Okon Umana, stated that the official take-off date for the management of the zones by OGFZ will be 30 days from the date of the letters, which is November 17, 2016.
In one of the letters with reference number FZA/SIIFZ/02/VO1/1116/001 sighted by our correspondent, OGFZA made it clear that “the authority has by virtue of the statutory provisions stated in Section 5 (2) and other relevant laws as well as the directives of the Government on the take-over of all Oil and Gas related activities within Free Zones in Nigeria, decided to carry out the full implementation of the law and the said directives. LADOL Free Zone, being an oil and gas free zone, will henceforth be licensed and regulated by OGFZA.”
Besides the establishment OGFZA Act, Umana also cited the Free Zones (Monitoring and Regulations) Order 2014, which states that “as from the commencement of this order, the Authority (OGFZA), in addition to its functions under the Act, shall be responsible for (a) Licensing of all oil and gas free zones located with the Customs Territory; and (b) publication of all operating standards to be observed in the free zone from time to time.”
Umana also said his agency derived its powers from the White Paper on the restructuring and rationalization of Federal Government parastatals.
The Government White Paper on the Report of the Presidential Committee on Restructuring and Rationalisation of the Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies of March 2014, states as it affects the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Section 236-237 (OGFZA and NEPZA) that: “Government rejected the merger of Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority (OGFZA) with Nigeria Export Processing Authority (NEPZA) and directs further that OGFZA be renamed Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, Nigeria, with responsibility to regulate all oil and gas free zones in Nigeria.