OGFZA to establish free trade zone in Akwa Ibom

Managing Director of OGFZA, Umana Okon Umana

Managing Director of OGFZA, Umana Okon Umana

The Federal Government is to partner with the Akwa Ibom State Government towards establishing an Oil and Gas Free Zone in the State.

This was disclosed on Wednesday when the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Oil & Gas Free Zones Authority, OGFZA, Umana O. Umana, met with the State Governor, Udom Emmanuel in Government House Uyo, the state capital.

According to Umana, this has become necessary because of the economic benefits the siting of the Free Zone would accrue to the people of the state and Nigeria as a whole.

“In the light of the obvious economic benefits of the Free Zones concept, we have decided to invite the Akwa Ibom State Government to work with the OGFZA, to establish Oil and Gas Free Zones in Akwa Ibom State.

The three locations under consideration are Ibaka, Ibeno and Ikot Abasi.”

According to Umana, the establishment of the Oil and Gas Free Zone in the state will attract investments; create jobs and fast-track economic development, noting that as at 2015, the investment inflow into the Free Zones represented about 65.5 per cent of total investment into Nigeria in the last 10 years.

He further explained that, the call was a follow-up to a similar meeting with the state in 2014, where it was agreed that, “OGFZA would use its expertise to establish a competitive Oil and Gas Free Zone with best global practices, obtain all necessary permit, licences, consents and approvals for the establishment of the Free Zone attract potential investors to the Free Zone.

“Others are regulate, licence investors and manage the Free Zone Advise and facilitate compliance with all necessary requirements for the establishment of the Free Zones, and that Akwa Ibom State Government would; provide land for the project Keep the project site free from all liens, encumbrances and adverse possession, provide offsite infrastructure such as roads, electricity, gas pipeline, telecommunication, feedstock, and so on.”

The OGFZA MD explained that the first oil and gas export free zone to be established in the country was the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone in Rivers State, which was subsequently followed with the establishment of other oil and gas free zones in Warri and Lagos, as public-private partnerships between the Federal Government of Nigeria and private sector operators.

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