At a recent oil and gas internet seminar (webinar) featuring top-brand speakers that included Professor Pat Utomi, Rev. Fr. Edward Obi and Willem Veermer of the Netherlands, the Managing Director of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA), Mr Umana Okon Umana, highlighted OGFZA’s formula to transparency and efficiency in the last three years.
Umana told the webinar, which looked at OGFZA as a case study, that the story of the agency’s progress between 2016 and 2019 is that of focused corporate vision and painstaking teamwork to achieve set goals. He explained that when he arrived at OGFZA his team set standards for operations, work ethics, inter-agency collaboration and enforced them so consistently that the results were soon apparent, leading the Federal Government, through the Presidential Enabling Environment Business Council (PEBEC), to adjudge OGFZA as number one among 44 federal ministries, departments and agencies in transparency and efficiency, two core values promoted in the business environment by the Executive Order 001 of 2017.
Speaking on “Repositioning the Oil and Gas Free Zones for Global Competitiveness” as one of the sub-themes of the seminar, Pat Utomi, a professor of political economy at the Pan African University, called for emphasis on manufacturing as the major economic activities to position the free zones as the launchpad for national economic revival. Utomi said specialization would assist the free zones to attain global competitiveness.
Rev. Fr. Edward Obi, national coordinator on Gas Flaring and Oil Spills in the Niger Delta, stressed the need for the protection of the environment in oil and gas operations as insurance for sustainable development.
Willem Veermer, international marketing expert, observed that Nigeria has underperformed its peers in economic development and called for more investment in human capital development as well a strong focus on a set of right policies that is faithfully executed to drive development.
Hon. Rimande Kwewum, a member of the House of Representatives, also speaking at the webinar, said it was time to change the negative narrative on the nation’s development to that of progress in security, infrastructure development, education, and job creation.
The seminar commended OGFZA on its successes in the last three years.
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