The Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority’s (OGFZA) efforts to fulfil its core mandate and play a key role in the Federal Government’s drive for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) received a major boost last week.
Bayelsa State handed over to OGFZA state land measuring 35,000 hectares for the development of the Brass Oil and Gas City.
Land to locate factories and offices is a key attraction to FDI in the free zones.
The state’s Surveyor-General, Gede Moses, said a portion of the 35,000-hectare land had been surveyed and was ready for deployment.
Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson declared that OGFZA can deploy the land resources the way it deems fit to accelerate the growth of free zones.
Dickson was responding to a request for support from the Managing Director of OGFZA, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, who visited the governor at Yenegoa.
Umana asked Dickson to support “OGFZA to execute its mandate of attracting investments to the free zones with allocation of land to the authority, backed with a certificate of occupancy” as a way of giving the investment agency “the capacity to effectively partner with investors”.
The OGFZA’s boss hailed the government for its support to OGFZA over the years and described their relationship as that of “natural partners in the development of the Southsouth region and our dear country”.
Umana lauded the governor’s commitment to Bayelsa State’s growth.
He said the Brass Oil and Gas City, to which $3.5 billion has been committed, was a major effort to improve the quality of lives of Nigerians and accelerate Southsouth region’s growth.
Noting that the world has recognised free zones as engines of growth that have generated more than 42 million jobs in about 4,000 free zones globally, Umana called for “the abiding support of the Bayelsa State for OGFZA in its mandate as free zones regulator to inspire and sustain continuing confidence of the investment community”.
The governor pledged his administration’s support for the projects but expressed concern that important aspects of the projects such as access road to Brass Oil and Gas City is beyond the capacity of the state and needs federal’s intervention.
Dickson congratulated Umana on his “well-deserved appointment” and lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for “making the right choice for the job of chief executive of OGFZA”.
He described Umana’s visit to the Government House, as “highly symbolic because Bayelsa is the cradle of the oil and gas economy in Nigeria”.