Lagos — THE Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone (OGFZ) has recorded additional investment of $200 million in the last 10 months, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga has said.
Aganga said the new investment was in addition to about $4 billion capital investment recorded, so far, by the OGFZ, adding that the development was a positive one for the Nigerian economy in the face of global economic challenges.
Speaking during the second edition of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Investment Forum, in Onne, Rivers State with the theme, "Investment Opportunities in the Upstream and Downstream Sectors of the Oil and Gas Industry", the minister said the free trade zone has done very well.
"This is indeed a remarkable progress when considered in the light of a weak global economy and the cut-throat competition, even among emerging and advanced economies for the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment," he said.
The minister said owing to the tremendous success the country has recorded through its Free Zone policy, more local and foreign investors had renewed their interests in investing in the free zones.
"The success of our Free Trade Zone Policy has invariably increasedthe demand of the sub-national level of government for a replication of free zones in other parts of the country, while an avalanche of applications for setting up business enterprises in the various free trade zones keep pouring in from prospective investors," Aganga said.
The minister said Nigeria was occupying a strategic position in Africa and globally, due to its abundant human and raw materials base, in addition to its hugely untapped investment opportunities .
He stressed that the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment was committed to partnering the private sector and other ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal and State Governments to provide a conducive environment for local and foreign investors to invest Nigeria.
"Nigeria is currently a high growth and high returns environment. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reports for 2011 and 2012 ranked Nigeria as Africa's number one destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
"Also, Nigeria has been ranked fourth globally in terms of average returns on investments at 35.5 per cent, which is higher than global average. This is in response to the abundant investment opportunities that exist in our country. Over the years, we have been an import-dependent country. But there is now a paradigm shift, which has begun through the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan.", he said