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Free Trade Zone

China invests $221m equity in Lekki Port

More by Tanko Mohammed

The dream of Mr Steven Heukelom, General Manager-Projects of Lekki Port, is coming through as Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited (LPLEL) reports that it has received a total of $221,047,248 as equity funding from China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).

CHEC is one of the shareholders in seaport project, currently under construction at the Lagos Free Trade Zone, Ibeju-Lekki.

 ‘I am pleased to confirm that Lekki Port has received the  subscription.

In October last year, Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited (LPLEL) signed $629 million financing from China Development Bank for the Lekki Deep Sea Port project.

LPLEL reports that the  development of the project is under a 45-year concession from NPA.

Hapag Lloyd joins others in Nigerian ports

Ports and Cargo Handling Services., the flagship company of SIFAX Group and concessionaire of Terminal C, Tin Can Island Port, Apapa, Lagos, has added a new client to its growing list of clientele.

Mr John Jenkins, Managing Director, Ports & Cargo Handling Services Ltd., made this known in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos on Thursday.

According to him, the latest addition is the Hapag Lloyd AG Ltd., a German international shipping and container transportation company which is the world’s fifth largest container carrier in terms of vessel capacity.

He added that the shipping line made its maiden call at the terminal recently with one of its largest vessel, Navios Azure, a container ship built in 2007 with gross tonnage of 39,906 tonnes and length overall of 260.5 metres,” he said.

Jenkins while welcoming the vessels crew to the terminal expressed the company’s delight at the vessel’s maiden call, saying that the development was a testimony of the terminal’s readiness to provide cutting-edge port terminal services to more clients.

“We are excited to have this ship berth at our terminal today.

“We are delighted that Hapag Lloyd, which is one the world’s largest ocean shipping fleet owners, prefers our terminal for their operations and the shipping line will call frequently at this terminal.

“This business relationship with Hapag Lloyd is one of several partnerships we have been working on in the past few months.

“This new wave of patronage is a result of the massive investments we have made both in modern equipment, quality personnel and improved processes over the years.

“All these have translated in better service delivery, which is what an average client wants,” he said.

Capt. John Trafiero while responding on behalf of the vessel’s crew members, said that they were overwhelmed by the hospitality and excellent service provided by the company and expressed his joy at berthing at one of Africa’s prime ports.

“This is a resounding welcome we have received here today and it will stick in our memories wherever we sail to.

“Though we are sailing back very soon, my crew and I cannot wait to be back here again,” he said.

Nigeria begins process to review oil and gas free zones law

The Federal Government in Abuja started the process to review of the Act establishing Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) in Nigeria.

The review is to remove ambiguities and enhance effectiveness in the sector.

Mr Adeniyi Adebayo, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment while declaring open a stakeholder’s forum to review the OGFZA Act no 8 of 1996, called for stakeholders’ input.

OGFZA is the government agency which promotes investments in the nation’s oil and gas free zones.

The stakeholder’s forum was organised by the ministry to examine the OGFZA act and the imperative of addressing imperfections in the act through an amendment bill to reposition the agency.

The minister said review of the OGFZA act based on the experience and observation that the act required a serious review to remove ambiguities and inconsistencies to achieve clarity and enhance effectiveness.

He said over the years, the inadequacy of the act led to avoidable inter-agency conflicts and hampered OGFZA in the execution of its mandate, hence the decision to create a platform to engage stakeholders for best possible outcome.

“Nigeria is the pioneer in Specialised Economic Zones (SEZs) with  the establishment of the first oil and gas free zone Act No 8 of March 29, 1996 in Onne, Rivers,  which was supervised at the time by the then Ministry of Commerce.

“Nigeria occupies this pride of place in a global industry that boast no fewer than 5,383 SEZs as at 2019, according to the United Nations Conference on trade and Development (UNCTAD) statistics,’’ he said.

He expressed regret that in spite of the efforts of pioneering the industry of SEZs, the inadequacy of the law empowering the regulating agency for the SEZs had not allowed the nation to reap its optimal benefits.

Adebayo commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration on its sound policy initiatives that had attracted Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) into the nation’s oil and gas free zones.

He also said the ministry felt a special sense of privilege to contribute to the achievement of the policy goals of the current administration.

According  to him,  the ministry will also look at the situations in all the agencies under the ministry with a view to repositioning them for the important task of developing the non-oil sector.

He urged the forum to take a close look and suggest pathways for the legal framework that would make OGFZA act the most effective oil and gas free zone regulatory agency.

Amb. Mariam Katagum, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment said the ministry had consistently delivered on the promise to promote economic growth.

This she noted the ministry had done by championing creation of jobs and drive for  inclusive growth while promoting integration of Nigeria based businesses into regional and global value chains.

“OGFZA plays both a strategic and catalytic role in economic development, particularly in employment creation, contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), zero oil plan, skills development and industrialisation, technology and innovation,’’ she said.

Mr Umana Okon Umana, OGFZA Managing Director,  expressed worry over imperfections in the act which was put in place 24 years ago.

According  to him,  without appropriate legal framework,  it cannot not exercise its mandate appropriately.

Okon urged the stakeholders to look into  areas such as,  concession of taxes, supervision and conduct of export free zones, licences permit and tax incentives for investors.

He said that between 2007 to 2017, the oil and gas free zone contributed highest cargo throughout, with the creation of 200, 000 direct and indirect jobs.

Okon said it also attracted FDIs worth more than 15 billion dollars to Nigeria.

He noted other free zones fully licensed by OGFZA and in operation are the Warri Oil and Gas Free Zone, Notore Industrial City, Onne, Rivers, Brass Oil and Gas City, Bayelsa and Lagos Oil and Gas Free Zone, Apapa.

Oil, gas free zones attract $20bln investments – Umana

The oil and gas free zones have attracted more investments and raked in more than $20 billion worth of investments since inception and created more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs.

The Managing Director of Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority of Nigeria (OGFZA), Mr Umana Umana, reported on Tuesday at the opening of stakeholders’ forum in Abuja packed by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to amend the oil and gas free trade act.

On the revenue side, Umana reported that between 2010 and 2015, the Nigerian Customs Service generated revenue of N143.2 billion from oil and gas free zone alone.

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) generated $2.1 billion and N19.1 billion from the oil and gas free zones, he said.

On the non-crude cargos, he also reported that the Onne port handled 267.2 million cargoes; Lagos Port 221.6 million cargoes; while Tin Can handled 163.5 million during the period.

He said recently unveiled a three year strategic roadmap which aims at growing investment in the oil and gas free zones by 50 per cent in the next three years.

The roadmap reflected the vision of the oil and gas free zone agency to be the premier agency of government for the promotion of investment in Nigeria’s oil and gas free zones.

One of the means to more investment is more access to OGFZA through its repackaged and robust website and the publication of a bye-weekly newsletter to enhance interaction with existing and prospective investors.

some participants at the oil, gas free Zone forum in Abuja

He added that the drive for new investment will be facilitated by a corporate culture of integrity, respect for investors and due process, transparency and accountability and well as passion for customer centric engagement with investors.

Umana said that efforts to amend the laws have come at the right time when the federal government is focused on the drive to diversify the economy. He explained that while the amendment would deepen specialisation and efficiency in the sector, they are at the same time expected to strongly encourage investment in the non-oil sector.

In order to further attract investors, he said that an array of incentives have been put in place, including waiver for form M requirement for importation into the free zones.

Also track cargo clearance procedure is ensured; pr- release of placement of bank bond; and fast track air freight cargo movement International airport to free zones.

“No time limit on cargo storage; no custom duty application within the free zones; no custom duty payable for goods exported from the free zones; and no custom duty payable on goods in transit from any part of entry in Nigeria to the free zones.

“Goods may be stored indefinitely, sold, exhibited broken up, package, graded, cleaned, marked, loaded, unloaded, reloaded, divided, mixed, separated or otherwise manipulated.’’

Katsina to begin export of tiger nuts others

Katsina State Government has identified Tiger Nuts, Hibiscus Sorrel (Zobo) and Sesame Seeds for export.

Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari said this in his keynote address during Katsina State Special Day at the ongoing 41st edition of Kaduna International Trade Fair in Kaduna.

The theme of the event was:  ‘Unlocking Nigeria’s Economic Potentials through Regional Integration.”

Masari said  Katsina government had also secured the commitment of export development financiers especially the export-import bank (NEXIM) to collaborate with them in the drive .

“There is no better strategy to develop the worth of our people more than commerce and industry, Nigeria has the potentials and the north in particular is filled to the brim with natural resources.

“This year’s fair is very suitable and have  captured the sentiments and commitment of my government to collaborate with other states to develop our commonwealth in order to solve our common challenges.

“The challenges of our country and our region in particular is improper harnessing of our resource endowments and deploying them for industrialisation,” he said.

Masari noted that Katsina state was focusing on development of the necessary infrastructure for making the state a real hub for industrialisation and commerce.

“My government recognises that sustainable development requires infrastructural facilities and uninterrupted supply of quality utilities of power and water.

“In this light, Katsina government has earmarked 800 hectares of land for the establishment of international standard industrial park and the work has already commenced.

“The other aspect will be to properly package the opportunities for selection by investors, most of which are Agro-allied for which also we have specialised state agencies to handle,  including the ministry of commerce itself and other relevant agencies,” Masari said.

In his address, the state Commissioner of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Mukhtar Abdulkadir, said government has been training the youth in small and medium scale businesses in view of its importance to the growth of any economy.

“This effort has culminated into bringing and formalising many trade groups,”  he said,  adding that the government the government has been organising them into clusters.

He urged investors to tap into the state’s numerous potentials, assuring them of incentives such industrial plots, tax holidays, business counselling and diagnosis.

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