A Bill for an Act to repeal and re-enact the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority Act has passed second reading at the House of Representatives.
The bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Emmanuel Orker-Jev and four other legislators, seeks to liberalise oil and gas free zone and make the authority more responsive to its mandate.
Leading the debate, Orker-Jev said Onne/Ikpokiri in Rivers was currently the only Oil and Gas Free Zone by the provisions of the existing Act and the powers of the President.
According to Orker-Jev, the bill seeks to liberalise the zones and provide for the establishment and designation of oil free zones and sub-zones in the country.
He said, “the bill also seeks to expand the board of the authority and subject the appointment of Board chairman to Senate confirmation”.
According to him, if the bill is passed, it would make business more transparent, result-oriented and less cumbersome.
Also contributing, Rep. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta (Abia-PDP) said that the bill sought to place oil and gas businesses in their rightful place.
According to him, going by the current trends, there is need to maximise the benefit of the oil and gas free zones and ensure inclusion of local content.
The lawmaker said the amendment would help to account for all oil and gas business transactions in the country.
On his part, Rep. Sylvester Ogbaga (Ebonyi-PDP) said the oil and gas free zone in the country was considered the best in Africa.
He said that when the bill was passed, it will reduce the challenges facing the zone and stem the continuous loss of revenue in the sector.