By Ajibola Abayomi.
November 30, 2017
The Oil and Gas Free Trade Zones Authority (OGFZA) has deregistered 16 companies operating in the zone under the concession of INTELS Nigeria Limited, the company whose contract for ship pilotage was recently revoked by the federal government.
However, the companies were said to have voluntarily applied to withdraw from the trade zones following the lull in business activities even before the face-off between the federal government and Intels.
According to the OGFZA, the application for de-registration between March and April 2017, saying that the current feud has no connection with the exit of the affiliate
OGFZA maintained that companies under the zone indicated interest to leave due to lull of economic activities in Nigeria and the authority is currently engaging INTELS with a view to resolving the contentious issues.
According to a statement signed by the Senior Adviser on Media to the Managing Director, OGFZA, Mr. Iboro Otongaran, “in the last quarter of last year a few companies applied to the management of OGFZA and indicated interest to leave the free zones because of the lull in economic activities in the oil and gas sector for which they provided logistics services.”
He further disclosed that licenses have been issued to new companies coming into the free zones as replacement to fill the vacuum, pointing out that “this is consistent with the free entry and free exit reality of the market place”.
He noted that the companies had applied for deregistration before the appointment of the current Chief Executive Officer of the authority, Mr. Umana Okon Umana .
The spokesman also reiterated that Intels has been downsizing since 2015, purely for economic reasons, adding that the authority will not be distracted in the execution of its mandate.
He maintained that cases of departure of some organisations from the zones took place before the onset of the ongoing disagreement.
“A few other companies also decided to be deregistered, complaining of excessive tariff charges by Intels to licenses in the zone, a development which led to OGFZA to insist on a downward review of the current tariff and the approval of a new tariff regime by the authority according to the extant law in the free zone.
“OGFZA is aware that some companies have left and threatened to leave the free zones because of excessive charges imposed by the free zone concessionaire without approval of the authority.
“We want to note that the excessive charges have eroded the incentives provided by the law for free zones licensees and undermined the purpose of the free zones, which is why OGFZA insists that those charges must be approved before they can be applied in the free zones as approved for in the extant law,” the statement noted.