In a bid to achieve the objectives of the, Ease of Doing Business Initiative (EDBI), an economic policy of the Federal Government, the management of the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority (OGFZA), Onne, says it has developed a roadmap towards achieving efficient service delivery.
The Managing Director of the Authority, Umana Okon Umana, disclosed this during a stakeholders forum jointly hosted by the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority and the Nigeria Customs Service in Onne in Eleme Local Government Area last week.
The managing director, said the Free Zone Authority has made reasonable progress in the implementation of the roadmap, which was first launched at an enlarged stakeholders summit last February.
He called on all government agencies, to imbibe the policy of efficient service delivery to promote economic growth in the country.
He pointed out that the challenges of high cost of doing business in the Free Zone, was of paramount concern to the management, “we have engaged all the stakeholders in this regard, including developers of the free zone and the OICs, all of which have agreed that the tarrifs are high and must come down. In this regard, the Authority in line with the extant law and regulations will soon be issuing a new schedule of tarrifs which would be applicable in the free zone”, he stated.
The managing director further disclosed that, in line with the commitment made in the roadmap, the management of the authority has commenced the full automation of its processes with the development of the “Oracle Cloud” application for all aspects of its operations.
He emphasised the need for compliance with standard operating process to enhance transparency, accountability and efficiency, adding that staff training was ongoing to cope with the new trend of operations.
Cognisance of the importance of this, he said the authority has deployed resources to upgrade its website into a robust and highly interactive portal for timely dissemination of information about the free zone.
Umana explained that the modest efforts made to reposition the free zone for higher efficiency and greater productivity have greatly impacted Nigeria’s export trade.
He commended the Nigeria Customs Service for the summit and assured the commitment of the Free Zone Authority to provide the enabling environment to attract foreign direct investments, create jobs and increase government revenues.
He however, regretted the logistic challenges faced by the numerous clients of the authority and other stakeholders in moving in and out of the free zone in Onne as a result of the bad condition of a section of the East-West Road.
He said the attention of relevant agencies of government has been drawn to the bad road to ameliorate the plight of the road users.
Imported Goods Killing Local Production – Presidency
The Presidency has frowned at the rate of consumption of imported goods in the country, and has urged Nigerian consumers to change their mindset and patronise locally-produced goods, especially in the agricultural sector, to boost revenue and job creation.
Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this while speaking at a one-day seminar/exhibition with the theme, “Re-orientation towards ensuring preference and consumption of domestic agro-allied products”, which was organised by Zakclair Investment Limited.
Adesina, who was represented by the Special Assistant to the President on New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi, said more Nigerians would be financially empowered when people patronise locally manufactured goods.
He explained that no nation could truly develop its production capacity when its economy was based on imported products.
The presidential spokesperson observed that most developed nations of the world were those whose economies were based on the local production of goods.
He said the unbridled importation of products was weighing heavily on the country’s foreign exchange reserve.
“We must also be willing to innovate with our local products in ways that can get us a wider audience.
“Instead of expending scarce resources and importing goods and services, we can channel them to create jobs for people. We need to believe more in the value of what is indigenous to us, as a people.
“When we consume locally made products, there will be less pressure on our foreign exchange. In the same breath, the value addition that happens locally means jobs.
“The economic value of consuming locally made goods is in all the jobs that will be created.
“I think that with the kind of market that we have in Nigeria, 200 million people, you can see there is a lot that we can do with domestic products”, Adesuna said.
Delivering the keynote address, the Executive Secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Prof. Garba Sharabutu, urged stakeholders to stop paying lip service to the efforts to drive the consumption of made-in-Nigeria products, saying “we need to take it from words to action”.
Earlier, the CEO of Zakclair Investment Ltd, Adelabu Abdulrazak, explained that with the country’s ailing economy, there was a need to direct attention to preference and consumption of locally-made products.
“Consequently, we believe there is a need for a discourse in this aspect of our national life with the aim to infuse patriotism, encourage policies that tackle this lifestyle, reorientate our citizens and massively stimulate the growth of our economy,” he said.
Commission Extends Deadline For Digital Money Operators’ Registration
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has announced the extension of deadline for registration of online money lenders and operators, otherwise known as Digital Money Lenders (DML).
Making the registration extension known in a statement that was made available to The Tide at the weekend, the FCCPC Chief Executive Officer, Babatunde Irukera, said the process has been extended to March 27, 2023.
The FCCPC boss stated that the extra time was to ensure that the registration of DML whose registration was still in process was adequately achieved, and to also prevent significant market disruptions.
It is the third time the commission has postponed the deadline for registration, since it enforced compulsory registration in August 2022.
“On December 6, 2022, in furtherance of the collaboration of the Inter-Agency Joint Task Force, the FCCPC extended the deadline for the registration of DML to January 31, 2023.
“This was to ensure the registration of DMLs whose registration was still in process and to prevent significant market disruptions.
“The Commission noted, however, that several DMLs have not yet provided all relevant documentation to complete their registration process.
“To this end, the Commission is further extending the registration deadline to Monday, March 27, 2023″, The statement read in part.
The FCCPC recently released a limited interim regulatory and registration framework for digital lending in order to curb unethical interest rates, violation of consumer privacy, and other unethical lending practices perpetrated by unchecked digital lenders in the country.
By: Corlins Walter
Manager Clarifies PH Airlines Building Occupancy Issues
The Port Harcourt Airport Manager, Mr Felix Akinbinu, has given reasons for the delay by airlines operating at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, in occupying the newly commissioned Airport Building.
Noting that airlines still operate from the Terminal building, he said the nature of business operations of airlines is such that makes them operate from the terminal building in order to meet the boarding requirements for passengers.
Akinbinu, who disclosed this while interacting with aviation correspondents, stated that the newly commissioned airlines building is not just for airlines alone.
He said it’s office space for any group or individuals to use, though it bears the name, “Airline Building”.
According to him, the airlines will still operate from the terminal building because the newly commissioned airlines building is to provide additional office space for airlines to accommodate their other activities and staff.
“To be frank with you, what we have in the new airlines building is just eight office space accommodation, and it is not only for airlines, it is open to everyone or group that need an office space.
“It is not that we are ordering the airlines to leave the terminal building, not at all, because they are to operate at the terminal building for the ease of their business and passengers facilitation.
“It is also not an issue of disobedience on their side for still operating at the terminal building. All they will do is to acquire additional office space for their staff and operations”, Akinbinu said.
The Tide’s check earlier showed that the new airlines building is sited at a distance place from the terminal building, which makes it difficult for airlines to easily access, considering their style of business operations.
Some officials of airlines The Tide interacted with stated that they will not operate from the new airlines building because it was sited across the airport major road, distant from the terminal.
They, therefore, urged the airport management to consider the nature of their operations, and make alternative for them.
It would be recalled that the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Salisu Yadudu, represented by the Director of Operations, Murktar Munye, had at the commissioning ceremony of the airlines building, early December last year, directed the airport manager to ensure that airlines occupy the building immediately.
This, he said, was to decongest the terminal building. But the building is yet to be occupied.
By: Corlins Walter
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