Managing Director of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA), Mr. Umana Okon Umana, has disclosed plans to review downward tariffs paid by investors in the oil and gas zones in the country.
Speaking in Onne, Rivers State, while reacting to complaints about high tariffs applicable in the free zones, Umana said since the investors deserve serious consideration, the authority has started the process to review the statutory levies downward, as the idea of a free zone was to ensure investors enjoy low cost and ease of doing business.
The investors had protested that the Industry Wide Standard Tariffs (IWST) being enforced in the free zones were negotiated and signed only by National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), Exxonmobil, Shell, Intels, Adax, NOAC, Total and Chevron without the input or involvement of other investors in the free zones. They argued that it was unfair to impose such tariff regime on everyone when the process that produced it was not inclusive, and called for all parties—including NAPIMS, OGFZA, the IOCs and other licensees—to go back to the drawing board and agree a new tariff structure that will take care of the interest of the IOCs and other licensed investors in the free zones.
Umana revealed that a meeting was in the works with NAPIMS, Intels and other relevant stakeholders to agree on a regime of tariffs that is fair to all the parties involved.
He explained that the schedule of the tariffs being implemented was approved by NAPIMS “without the input of the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority,” contrary to section 25 of the Oil & Gas Free Zone Act Cap 05, LFN 2010 and section 11 and 39 (4) of the Oil & Gas Export Free Zone Regulations 2003.
Section 11 of the Oil & Gas Export Free Zone Regulations 2003 states: “The Authority shall issue 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 or operators,” while section 32 (4) of the same regulation gives OGFZA the “right to review tariffs for operations in the Free Zone from time to time.”
The proposed reduction in tariffs is one of the measures being taken by OGFZA to boost economic activities in the oil and gas free zones.
Last month, OGFZA launched its strategic roadmap to transform its operations, and a marketing brochure that unveiled a bouquet of incentives to free zone investors.