Prototype of Liberty Oil and Gas Free Zone
The Akwa Ibom State sponsored Liberty Free Trade Zone to be sited in Ikot Abasi is currently gathering steam as considerable progress has been made towards it becoming a reality. Mr. Ufot Ebong, Special adviser to the Akwa Ibom State Governor on technical Matters disclosed that the state is making serious progress towards obtaining the license to operate the zone and commence operation.
Mr. Ebong made this disclosure in Uyo, The Akwa Ibom State capital during a review meeting between the Liberty Oil and Gas Free Zone Joint Implementation Committee and the Managing Director of Oil & Gas Free Zone Authority, OGFZA, Mr. Okon Umana.
The Joint Implementation Committee OF the Liberty Oil and Gas Free Zone
Mr. Umana who was on a working visit to the State commended the State Government for the commitment towards the actualisation of the free zone in the State. Specifically, Mr. Umana lauded the level of promotion of the project as well the pace and level of mobilization toward attracting both local and international investors to the project.
It will be recalled that sometime in January of this year the Akwa Ibom State Governor set up a six-member joint committee on the implementation
Of Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone in the State. The members of this committee included the Akwa Ibom State commissioner for investment, Commerce, and Industry, The Chairman, Technical Committee on Foreign Direct Investment as well as the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Technical Matters and Due Process.
Representing the Oil and gas Free Zones Authority was their Legal Adviser, Head of Operations and the Head of Trade and Investment.
Highlighting the progress made by the Akwa Ibom State Government in promoting the free zone to potential investors all over the world, Mr. Ebong revealed that the State Government had contracted a Consortium of Consultants led by PriceWaterhouseCoopers to mobilise investment into the proposed free zone.
He revealed that the American Oil Giant ExxonMobil is one of the international investors who has indicated strong interest in the project and had in fact requested for a dedicated oil and gas terminal in the proposed free zone pending its eventual take-off.
The Akwa Ibom State Liberty Oil and Gas Free Zone is designed to be a specialized free zone for operations of the oil and gas activities in Nigeria and offshore. It is projected to consist of Modern International Jetty to be built on the lower Imo River Channel called the Opobo channel, along the coast of Ikot Abasi. It would also boast of dry bulk quay to house agricultural products.
The Special Assitant to the Governor on Technical Matters Mr. Ebong confirmed to newsmen that a 50,000 Hectares of shore land spanning over four local Governments of Ikot Abasi, Eastern Obolo, Oruk Anam and Mkpat Enin Local Government areas has been designated Liberty Free Trade Zone and an application for license has been lodged with the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority pending approval.