Dr. Austin Obieze, a Port Harcourt based oil and gas industry expert has said that “no fewer than 16 companies have decided to withdraw their operations from the Onne Free Trade Zone”, Independent reports.
He accused the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) of damaging the concept of free trade zones with what he termed “rogue behaviour” towards free zone operators in the country. Obieze said the recent attack by OGFZA against a leading free trade zone operator, Intels Nigeria Limited (INL), has sent the wrong signal and created panic among investors operating in the zones. He said among the 16 companies that have decided to exit the free zone are Prodeco International Limited, West Africa Machinery Services (WAMS), MGM Logistics Solutions Limited and Orlean Invest Limited.
Also speaking on OGFZA’s battle against Intels, Mr Frank Ejizu, Managing Director/CEO of Samsung Heavy Industries in Nigeria, said: “You cannot be wooing investors on one hand and scaring them away on the other hand. It will not work. If there was a violation of the law, then there is a ground for sanction.” Similarly, Mohammed Umar Bago, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, said the situation was “getting sour”.