President Muhammadu Buhari has signed a Free Trade Zone status for AkwaIbom State, estimated to generate more than 7,000 direct and indirect, long-term jobs plus investment commitments worth more than $10 billion.
The disclosure was contained in a statement issued by the honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, OtunbaAdeniyi Adebayo.
The new Oil and Gas Free Zone named the Liberty Oil and Gas Free Zone, is jointly promoted by the AkwaIbom State Government, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Black Rhino Group, an American private equity investor.
According to Otunba Adebayo, “The Liberty Oil and Gas Free Zone is expected to generate industrial clusters that will deliver impetus to the Federal Government Industrial Revolution Plan by fast-tracking the development of related industries such as lubricant and plastics manufacturing, utilizing abundant hydrocarbon feedstocks in the zone.”
Sitting on a 50,000 hectares spread of physical land space, across six local government areas of IkotAbasi, Eastern Obolo, OrukAnam, MkpatEnin, Onna and Ibeno, Liberty Oil and Gas Free Zone is the largest in West Africa.
The development design of the Free Zone will feature a Petroleum and Energy District, NNPC Logistics Centre, Business and Industrial District, Agro-allied Industrial District, and Heavy Industry District.
The Liberty Oil and Gas Free Zone is regulated by the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) headed by Mr. UmanaOkonUmana, the Managing Director.
OGFZA has consistently expressed determination to ensure that Nigeria benefits maximally from Free Zones as veritable tools to drive economic growth and development in the country.
Since assumption of office, Mr. Umana has continued to push for the visibility of the Free Trade Zones. Expressing his delight at the declaration of the Free Trade Zone status for AkwaIbom State, Mr. Umana stated that he is “excited about the project because of the prospects it holds out for the economic development of the country.”