The Senate Committee on Trade and Investment has commended  the leadership of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) for its capacity to raise enough internally generated revenue to take care of its recurrent expenditure.

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Sabo Mohammed, who was speaking at OGFZA’s 2018 budget session with the committee, told the Managing Director of OGFZA, Mr Umana Okon Umana, that the committee was highly impressed by OGFZA’s ingenuity to generate enough cash from internal sources to fund the payment of staff salaries and overheads from the 2018 budget cycle. Mohammed noted also that OGFZA’s budget presentation was thorough, detailed and clear, requiring no follow-up questions and explanation. The committee brought the session to a close by asking Umana to take a bow and return to his office. The committee chairman and Senator Nelson Effiong, a member of the committee who also spoke at the budget session, said OGFZA’s performance was unique and worthy of emulation by other agencies of the federal government. They contrasted OGFZA’s resourcefulness with the case of other agencies which rely solely on handouts from the federal government to fund both their recurrent and capital expenditure. Umana had formally informed the Federal Ministry of Finance in a December 6, 2017 memo that the authority could meet its staff salaries and overheads from internally generated revenue, and requested the

“federal government to suspend the funding of the recurrent expenditure of OGFZA from treasury funds.”

Financial independence that permits self-funding is one of the six goals that OGFZA set for itself under the Umana-led management in its three-year roadmap which became operational at the beginning of last year. The roadmap kicked in a series of reforms which allowed Umana at year’s end to tell the Minister of Finance,

 “Following the measures taken by the new management of OGFZA to increase internally generated revenue (IGR), I write to inform the Minister of Finance that with effect from the 2018 financial year, the Authority will no longer depend on treasury funding to meet her recurrent expenditure requirements (salaries and overheads). The recurrent expenditure of the Authority will be funded with our IGR.”

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