Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Alli (rtd), has described the integration of the first made-in-Nigeria oil services platform otherwise known as Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, as one of the pride of President Mohammadu Buhari, in his passion for repositioning the nation’s economy.
The $3.8 billion platform otherwise known as Egina project was awarded to Samsung Heavy Industry (SHI) in 2013 to build a world-class oil production platform in Nigeria with the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL), acting as the local content partner.
Ali made the assertion in Lagos yesterday when he led top management team of the Nigeria Customs Service on a facility tour of the LADOL Free Zone, in Takwa Bay, Apapa, where the integration of the world-class oil platform is being integrated.
Expressing delight at the wholly indigenous owned facility, which has so far consumed $600million in local content input, Ali observed that for an indigenous investor to take such bold step amid the risk in undertaking such ventures, the project must be appreciated by the presidency.
“I have come and I have seen. They say seeing is believing. I will take the message to President Muhammadu Buhari whom I am sure will be impressed if he gets to know what you are doing here. The President is interested more so that you are the first people that are doing this kind of project in West Africa and to say that your organization is owned by Nigerians, it is amazing.
“With what you are doing here, I have no doubt that government will continue to support and encourage you because the sky is the limit. Any government will be glad to support an entity such as this that will put us (Nigeria) at par with other industrially developed countries of the world
“Not too many of our indigenous investors can take the risk as you have done. I am happy to be here, and the Nigeria Customs Service is also glad that you are generating revenue into government coffers through your activities here,” he said.
Earlier in her address of welcome, Managing Director of the LADOL Free Zone, Dr. Amy Jadesimi, said the zone, which has been developed into a world-class facility from a swamp, has so far generated about N16.9billion in customs revenue in the past ten years.
“Over the years, we have done our best in terms of customs revenue generation. So far, we have generated almost N16.9billion as customs revenue,” she said.
According to her, more revenue will accrue into the nation’s coffers through the project, when completed.
“Going forward for the Egina project, given that the FPSO is going to arrive partially integrated before it goes out, the Customs duty of the FPSO will be paid through the Apapa Customs command and that will be determined by the Customs assessment team in the area of value.
“What we can tell you so far is that the value of what we have been doing is put at about $20 million. We are sure that with that, we will be able to give you the percentage of the $3.8billoin worth of the entire vessel for your overall assessment.
“The essence of what we are doing now is that you spend about two years building the vessel, bring in a lot of raw materials for the fabrication before the vessel goes out into the customs territory and that is the point at which you pay duty.”
The LADOL boss further disclosed that beyond revenue generation, other socio-economic value such as job as well as preservation of foreign exchange are other advantages of the project to the nation.
“The number of enterprises at the free zone has also been increasing. We are expanding our activities and looking at agricultural processing, just as we are focusing on jobs creation. By the end of this year, we would be estimating employment at the free zone to over 2,000 employees,” she said.
According to Dr. Jadesimi, the LADOL Industrial Zone has over the years, “managed with all the facilities we’ve built to create a one-stop-shop which enables us to provide 50 percent cost savings”.
She said, “This is very significant because not only are we domesticating activities that could otherwise been done outside of the country, we are also reducing the cost of providing such activities
“Let me say that a lot of the costs are paid by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). What that means is that Nigeria is actually paying, and so if you are able to reduce the cost, you would have saved something tangible for the country,” she said.
Jadesimi said the base, which took off barely ten years ago from a swamp land is still in the process of developing.
“But so far, we have developed about 30 percent,” she said.
LADOL, according to her, has remained committed to its mission and vision of making Nigeria the hub of West Africa where heavy industrial activities are taking place thereby creating 50,000 jobs.
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