Mkpoikana Udoma 19 April 2017, Sweetcrude, Uyo – The Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, OGFZA, has commended Akwa Ibom State government on its plan to build and secure a licence for the proposed Liberty Oil and Gas Free Zone in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area of the state.
The Managing Director of OGFZA, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, while reviewing progress of work on the proposed free zone after receiving a briefing from the Liberty Oil and Gas Free Zone Joint Implementation Committee in Uyo, said he was impressed at the pace and level of mobilisation and promotion by the state government to attract investors to the project.
At the review meeting, Chairman of the Implementation Committee and Special Adviser to Akwa Ibom State Governor on Foreign Direct Investment, Mr Gabriel Ukpeh, gave timelines for meeting key requirements on the project as well as insight into important engineering and technical works concluded and scheduled to be done.
Ukpeh explained that a preliminary aerial survey and a temporary access road to the 50,000-hectare site for the proposed free zone have been completed.
He explained that the dredging of the sea that will serve the shipping needs of the free zone is awaiting full consultation with the host communities across Akwa Ibom and the neighbouring states, since the impact of dredging cuts across state boundaries.
“Deadline for concluding all paperworks required for the licensing of the free zone is 2nd of May, 2017.
“Site inspection of the proposed free zone area by OGFZA (the licensing authority) is scheduled for the third week of April,” Ukpeh said.
A member of the committee and Special Adviser to the State Governor on Technical Matters, Engr. Ufot Ebong, said the number of international investors that have indicated interest to bring investments into the Liberty Free Zone was large, including ExxonMobil, whICH, he said, has made a request for a dedicated terminal in the free zone.
Ebong also said the case of property owners within the area acquired for the free zone would be addressed either through integration into the project or relocation from the project site.
He further explained that the state government is working with a consortium of consultants to mobilise investments into the free zone. The consortium, he said, is led by PricewaterhouseCoopers.