By Dipo Olowookere
The Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have collaborated to ensure improved service delivery to clients in the nation’s free trade zones.
This decision was reached when authorities of both agencies of government met recently at a joint stakeholders’ forum in Onne, Rivers State.
The event was organised to fine tune a pathway to better service delivery in the free zones and the Managing Director of OGFZA, Mr Umana Okon Umana, and the Comptroller-General of the NCS, Mr Hameed Ali, disclosed that their agencies were united by the collective objective of delivering best-in-class services to investors in the free zones in line with the Ease of Doing Business policy of the Federal Government.
Mr Umana explained further that, “This conference is jointly hosted by the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority and the Nigeria Customs Service to underscore the fact that the Ease of Doing Business initiative is a national Policy under one government, by which fact all relevant agencies of government are to work together in implementing the policy to deliver efficient services to the investor.
“That is both the letter and spirit of the policy, whose urgency has been reinforced by the Executive Orders issued by the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.”
Mr Umana added that agency cooperation for efficient service delivery under the one-government concept is operationalised in the free zones through the one-stop shop policy, which obligates all relevant agencies of government to work through OGFZA to optimise and expedite service delivery.
“The point being made here is that the policy of efficient service delivery has to be imbibed and made a way of life across all agencies of government,” he said.
In his remarks, Mr Ali, comptroller-general of Nigeria Customs, declared that the service was committed to working with OGFZA for the good of the nation. “We recognise the need to work with you and carry you along in our match toward evolving an efficient and responsive service,” the comptroller-general said.
He explained that full engagement with all stakeholders in the oil and gas trade is a requirement for the success of the industry.
The forum, which drew participation from licensed customs clearing agents, free zone investors, relevant government officials, and other stakeholders, was highly interactive.
It featured the presentation of technical papers on the Ease of Doing Business by Mr Adekunle Ajayi, OGFZA’s head of operations and technical services and another paper providing the customs perspective on improved service delivery in the free zones by Abubakar Bashir, who is the customs comptroller in charge of Port Harcourt area command, Onne.
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