OGFTZA Boss Lauds Udom On Free Zone Projects

OGFTZA Boss Lauds Udom On Free Zone Projects
Mr. Udom Emmanuel, Governor of Akwa-Ibom State

…As Joint Implementation Committee Takes Off

The Managing Director of the Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone Authority (OGFTZA), Obong Umanah Okon Umanah has praised the foresight of Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Gabriel Emmanuel in partnering with the Oil and Gas Authority for the realization of the Ikot-Abasi Liberty Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) project.

Obong Umanah made this commendation during his visit to the governor at the Hill Top Mansion in Uyo, as part of the activities of his tour of Oil and Gas Zones in the state, noting that “the establishment of the Oil and Gas Free Zone in Akwa Ibom will attract investors, create jobs and fast track economic development” and went on to explain that investment through the Free Trade Zones as at 2015, represented about 65.5 per cent within the last ten years, a feat which rated Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Free Zone at Onne with regards to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), as the most successful in Africa.

The purpose of the visit according to Mr. Umanah, was to discuss the establishment of Oil and Gas Free Zones in Akwa Ibom State. He therefore called on the government to partner with OGFZA to establish Oil and Gas Free Zone at strategic locations in Ibaka, Ibeno and Ikot Abasi.

Mr. Umanah urged the government to facilitate compliance with all necessary requirements for the establishment of the Free Trade Zones through acquisition of land and off site infrastructure such as, roads, electricity, gas pipeline, telecommunications, crude feedstock and as well, make financial and other contributions for the successful execution of the project.

“The history of the Free Trade Zones is a kind of collaboration between the federal government and other investors such as the states and private sector operators in the development of the logistics support base for the oil and gas industry”, the oil and gas boss noted.

As a follow up to the meeting between the management of OGFZA and Akwa Ibom State government, a six member Joint Committee on Implementation of Oil and Gas Free Zone in Akwa Ibom has been constituted.

The committee has the Commissioner for Investment, Commerce and Industry, Prof. Eno Akpan, Chairman Technical Committee on Foreign Direct Investment, Mr. Gabriel Ukpe and the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Technical Matters and Due Process, Engr. Uffot Ebong as members on the part of Akwa Ibom State government, while the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority is represented by the Head of Legal Services, Barr. Sule Wasiu, Head of Operations, Mr. Adekunle Ajayi and the Head of Trade and Investment, Adamu Kontagora.

During the visit, Governor Udom Emmanuel congratulated Mr Umanah on his appointment as the Managing Director of the Free Trade Zones Authority and commended him for commencing the tour of the zone from Akwa Ibom, acknowledging that the project would boost the industrialization agenda of his administration by creating employment and generating wealth for the people.

“Akwa Ibom as a major producer of oil deserves to be a beneficiary of the project”, the governor observed, assuring the OGFZA Managing Director that his administration would provide the logistics that would facilitate the realisation of the Free Zones projects in the state.

Already, plans are in top gear to create an Oil and Gas Harbour at Ikot Abasi to serve as a base for major oil companies operating in the country. The licence for the jetty, as disclosed to by the Governor, was granted in April 2016 and, the application for the Liberty Free Trade ZONE (LFTZ) covering fifty thousand hectares of land spanning Ikot Abasi, Eastern Obolo, Oruk Anam and Mkpat Enin is undergoing processing with the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA).

Governor Udom Emmanuel further disclosed to his visitors that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed with investors who are surveying the coastline for dredging and construction of the jetty which will serve as Maritime gateway for the Liberty Free Trade Zone, (LFTZ) and that, a Chinese Consortium is partnering with the state as a co-promoter and developer of the Free Trade Zone.

 

By Sunny Edemenang – BIBR Uyo

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