Reports show that the Federal Government will partner the Akwa Ibom State Government to establish an Oil and Gas Free Zone in the state.
The Nation reports that the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA), Mr Umana Umana, broke the news yesterday when he and management workers visited Governor Udom Emmanuel at the Government House in Uyo.
Umana said the establishment of the trade zone would attract investments, create jobs and fast-track economic development.
The agency chief recalled that in 2015, the investment inflow into free trade zones was about 65.5 per cent of the total investment into Nigeria in the last 10 years.
He said the feat was acknowledged by The Financial Times of London magazine, which rated Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Free Zone at Onne, with regard to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), as the most successful in Africa
Umana said the first oil and gas export free zone to be established in the country was at Onne in Rivers State.
The OGFZA chief said it was subsequently followed by the establishment of other oil and gas free zones in Warri and Lagos as public-private partnerships (PPPs) between the Federal Government and private sector operators.
He said: “The history of the free zones is a record of collaboration between the Federal Government and other investors, such as states and private sector operators, in the development of the logistic support base for the Oil and Gas Industry.”
Umana said the benefits derived from the free trade zones had deepened the economy and placed Nigeria on global map as a leading player in the oil and gas economy of Sub-Saharan Africa.
According to him, OGFZs have attracted major oil companies, which are using them as hubs for business transactions covering the Gulf of Guinea up to Angola and South Africa.
He noted that because of the numerous economic benefits of free zones, the agency invited the state government to establish oil and gas free zones across the state.
Umana listed Ibaka, Ibeno and Ikot Abasi as possible locations of the free trade zone.
Under the partnership, OGFZA will use its expertise to establish a competitive oil and gas free zone with best global practices, obtain necessary permit, licences, consents and approvals for the establishment of the free zones.
It will also attract potential investors, regulate, license investors and manage the free zone as well as advise and facilitate compliance with the requirements for the establishment of the free zones.
The state government is expected to provide the land for the project, keep the site free from trespassers, encumbrances and adverse possession, provide offsite infrastructure, such as roads, electricity, gas pipeline, telecommunication, crude feedstock as well as make financial and other contributions for the successful execution of the project.
Source: The Nation