By Soni Daniel
The Federal Government is expected to award contracts for the construction of a 612-metre bridge to link Ikpokiri Island with the rest of Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone, and for the reconstruction of a 3.5km dual carriageway into the Notore Industrial City in Rivers State.
Both Ikpokiri Island and Notore Industrial City (NIC) are part of the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone industrial corridor in Rivers State.
The bridge and road projects are meant to further open up the free zone for more investments.
Already, according to the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA), regulator of the nation’s oil and gas free zones, the Notore Industrial City and the Ikpokiri Island have secured new international investment commitments worth more than $12.5 billion.
The expected investment decision in infrastructure development by the Federal Government to further deepen the industrial clusters in the Onne Free Zone follows the adoption of a memorandum by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, Otunba Richard Adebayo, to the 11th meeting of the National Council on Industry, Trade and Investments in Uyo, asking for the building of a bridge to link Ikpokiri Island to the rest of Onne Free Zone and to reconstruct the broken access road to Notore Industrial City.
The minister’s memo was based on a presentation under the leadership of the Acting Managing Director, Mr Adekunle Ajayi, to the council by the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority seeking government action on the bridge and road projects.
In adopting the minister’s memo, the council noted the oil export trade “revenue goals set for the Notore Oil and Gas Free Zone with the targeted investment draw-downs estimated to be worth approximately $5.35 billion in the next five years.”
The process for the award of contract for the construction of the Ikpokiri link bridge follows the completion of all preliminary engineering studies on the bridge project as approved by the National Council on Industry, Trade and Investment during its 9th meeting in Sokoto two years ago.
Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone is part of the Onne-Eleme Industrial Hub which is home to the Port Harcourt Refineries, the Onne Port Complex, Indorama-Eleme Petrochemicals Limited, Notore Chemical Industries Limited, promoters of the Notore Industrial City (Oil and Gas Free Zone); as well as many free zone enterprises employing thousands of Nigerians.