Customs Boss: Buhari Trilled at Integration of $3.8bn Made- in- Nigeria FPSO

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The Controller General (CG) of Nigeria Customs Service, (NCS), Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd) has said President Muhammadu Buhari was elated at the integration of the first made-in-Nigeria oil services platform also known as floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel.

The CG conveyed the president’s delight with the feat during a facility tour of the LADOL Free Zone, in Tarkwa bay, Apapa, Lagos on Monday.
The contract for integration of the FPSO was awarded to Samsung Heavy Industry (SHI) in 2013. Specifically, the contract was for construction of the world class oil production platform in Nigeria with the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL), acting as the local content partner.

Ali, who expressed his delight at the wholly indigenous owned facility, which has so far consumed $600million in local content input, observed that for an indigenous investor to take such a 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’m sure is impressed at 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 organisation 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”, Ali said.

The Customs boss added: ’’The free trade zone is one of the areas of our responsibility, hence, the need for us to be on ground to see what is going on is key in other to enable us do our homework. We are impressed with what we have seen so far and we can say it is one of the most successful indigenous companies that is involved in heavy equipment building. It would help us in the classification of industries. We are here to see for ourselves so that we can factor it to our own mandate.”

He said, through the project, more jobs would be created in addition to the transfer of technology, which is also vital.

He added: ”One part of our job is to make sure that whatever is coming whether by Air, sea or land, must be inspected and  certified before it is uploaded which is one of our interactive process with LADOL.”

Earlier, the Managing Director, LADOL Free Zone, Amy Jadesimi described the project as a huge strategic economic investment and a single largest capacity development in Africa.
She said the location of LADOL at Tarkwa bay off Apapa is strategic, adding, ’’we need to receive the largest vessel in the world for the first time in Nigeria.’’

She said: “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.”

“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 per-centage of the $3.8billion 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.”

 “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.

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 land, has so far generated about N16.9billion dollars 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, similar huge revenue awaits 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 socioeconomic 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 2000 employees’ she said.

According to Dr. Amy, her zone has “over the years, we’ve managed with all the facilities we’ve built to create a 0ne-stop-shop which enables us to provide 50 percents cost savings. 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.

She said the base which took off barely ten years ago from a swamp land is still on the process of developing. “But so far, we have developed about 30 per-cents”.

He noted that so far, the LADOL venture has remained committed to its mission and vision which according to her, “is to make Nigeria the hub of West Africa where heavy industrial activities are taking place thereby creating 50,000 jobs”.

She described the location of LADOL at Tarkwa bay off Apapa as strategic “because our business is a specialized one. We need to receive the largest vessel in the world for the first time in Nigeria…and by traversing the shore shipping lane and berthing here; these vessels can come in easily and reliably.

“In the case of the Egina vessel which is being built here as you have seen, we are talking of a value of $3.8billion. Nobody is going to risk taking a vessel of that value into a location that is not customs built. That is why we have built a special quay walls that can accommodate vessels of that magnitude…and once the world is aware that such vessels can be accommodated in Nigeria, then that will open the floodgate for the realization of our quest to be amongst G20 by 2030” she said.

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