Governor Omar Gutierrez signed this morning the concession contract for the operation and maintenance of the Zapala Free Trade Zone in favor of a new temporary business union formed by the companies Servicios y Consultoría SA, Zona Franca Zapala SA, Argent-Pat SRL, Codesin SA, Petro Neu SA and, MyP Fundaciones Especiales SA. The management contract has a 30 years term and the initial works will generate 500 direct and 2000 indirect jobs.
In the ceremony held this morning at the Government House, the Mayor of Zapala Soledad Martínez were present, such as the provincial deputy Raúl Podestá, the Minister of Production and Industry, Facundo López Raggi, officials of the provincial and municipal Cabinet of Zapala and entrepreneurs and members of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Production of Zapala.
The contract was signed by Governor Gutierrez and the legal representative of the UTE, Alberto Oscar Targize; and by other authorities and businessmen.
The contract was signed for 30 years and is extendable for ten more years. It was recently approved by the provincial Executive by decree No. 740. Its purpose is to grant the exclusive exploitation of the Zapala Free Trade Zone for concession, technical management, operation and commercial exploitation and logistics. In a period of two years, this joint venture must become a public limited company (SA).
In the works and tasks to be faced, at least 60% of the local or provincial workforce must be prioritized, as well as the hiring of local goods and services in all stages and activities that are carried out during the concession term.
The first stage is expected to generate 500 direct jobs, and between 1500 and 2000 indirectly.
“Neuquén is what it is because of a developmental format and tradition, with legal and economic security that articulate public and private investments,” said the Governor. The new concession encompasses the technical and economic proposal and the executive project of works. The management will have the duty to execute and finance – within a maximum period of 2 years – the works and equipment established in the technical proposal.
The first stage of work must be done in 20 hectares of the concession area, within 120 days in the facilities where the primary customs zone and the so-called service area are currently located.
Gutierrez began his speech with words of congratulations “for the realisation of this dream that has been going on for more than 25 years and that we made possible today” and added that “the first words of congratulation are for the Neuquén entrepreneurs of these five companies in the Province who risked and gave their capital, being the only bidders that made the Free Trade Zone a reality”.
In enumerating many of the productive and service projects that the Province’s Government currently has throughout the territory, the provincial president said that “Neuquén is not just Vaca Muerta; Neuquén is what it is because of its developmental format and tradition, with a legal and economic security that articulate public and private investments.” He then stressed that “today is a revenge day” because “we citizens of Neuquen, show that our convictions and perseverance, coupled with the attitude when facing a problem, lead to multiplying solutions. And here, we face 25 years of insisting on our values. ”
The governor confirmed that “it is predictability, citizen participation, economic development with social progress and the search for territorial balance that made it possible for Neuquen to be the province with more investments, production and work generated. This situation must be maintained and reaffirmed, without falling asleep. ”
He also highlighted the works that are being done in Zapala and its area of influence such as the new hospital that will be ready before the end of the year, with an area of 7 thousand square meters; the beginning this next months of the most important headquarters inside the Institute of Social Security of Neuquén next to the two synthetic soccer fields which are already finished; the running of more than 150 homes; three new ATMs of the Provincial Bank of Neuquén that will also become a reality this year; the project for a cartodrome in Zapala; the roof for the heated swimming pool for the Argentine Federal Shot and the resurfacing of provincial route No. 14 and its access to the City, among other initiatives. “I have no doubt we will continue to carry out more works along with the municipality, jointly and as a team,” said Gutierrez.
The new concession encompasses the technical and economic proposal and the executive project of building site. The management will have the duty to execute and finance – within a maximum period of 2 years – the works and equipment established in the technical proposal.
Fernando Montero, Manager of the concessionaire explained that “in general, a Free Trade Zone is an extra customs territory, which is within the national territory and allows the deferral of the payment of nationalisation taxes. Customs in this case fulfils an inspection and control function of all products that are taken to the Free Trade Zone. This aims to develop the region where the Free Trade Zone is installed. ”
According to the businessman, the UTE’s forecast for the Zapala Free Trade Zone “is summarized in three main activities to be carried out. These are; the industry, which will occupy 30 percent of the total activity; logistics that will cover 45 percent; and services with 26% of its actions ”.
Montero resumed the socio-economic impact that this initiative will have for the region: “the sectors that will benefit are – obviously – Oil and Gas, but also agribusiness, mining, goods and services, equipment, health, consulting and technology”. He also confirmed that “numerous jobs will be created in entrepreneurship, professional services, skilled workers, innovators and nanotechnology, human resources, administration and customs brokers.” Regarding the impact that the Free Trade Zone will have for Zapala and the province, Montero said that it means “the creation of 500 direct and 2000 indirect jobs”.
Recalling that the total area of the Free Trade Zone is of 250 hectares, Montero explained that “the first part of the development will take part in 20 hectares, which will begin in the coming months and will be adjacent to the Customs Primary Zone. This infrastructure is designed in the three fundamental services already mentioned and will include a solar farm for auto lighting, the scale, access checkpoints, internal streets, parking beaches for private and company vehicles, the offices for the dealership, for users and of the Surveillance, for the Nursing and Firefighters Committee ”.
The document records that the concessionaire, that is, the contractor of the Free Trade Zone, allows the powers granted by the government of the province through the Vigilance Committee composed of representatives of the provincial executive branch, the municipality of Zapala and the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Production of the city.
Having this said, the Unión Transitoria de Servicios y Consultoría SA will not pay the Province any fee for twelve months, and will only start paying 0.5% in the second year of the concession. This period will begin 30 days after the company actually has the property which is currently occupied by the Customs Primary Zone, the spaces necessary for the construction and adaptation of vehicle traffic streets for customs control and the waiting areas for freight vehicles, as well as the value of the facilities and scales and other necessary works. The same rule will be applied for works carried out on the area currently occupied by the so-called Service Zone.