OGFZA stops container fees in free zones
The Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) has stopped all charges on containers imported into the country’s oil and gas free zones to cut the cost of doing business.
In a letter dated May 23, this year stopping the levy, OGFZA’s Head of Operations and Technical Services, Mr. Adekunle Ajayi, on behalf of the Managing Director, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, directed the West Africa Container Terminal (WACT), the firm charging the fees, to suspend the imposition of the levy at once.
The letter explained that the levy was not authorised by OGFZA and was therefore in violation of Section 11 of the Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone Regulations 2003, that “the Authority shall issue a 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 operators.”
Umana described the cancellation of the levy as a significant expression of commitment by OGFZA to the Federal Government policy on the ease of doing business and a vote for due process, stressed the need to do all that is proper to help free zones investors who have felt the pinch of the economic downturn on their bottom line.
The Exporters’ Association of Nigeria has hailed the policy decision as “a welcome development and good news” to hundreds of “exporters who were already complaining about the terminal charges.”
Its Director General, Prince Joseph Idiong, said his office received a written complaint from members in July last year, not just about the levy, but even about an increase in the charge per container.
He explained that following the complaint, the association wrote to the World Bank office on global competitiveness, asking them to intervene and get the Nigerian government to do something about the tariff.