The Senate Committee on Trade and Investment has advised the Federal Government to give out the Eleme-Onne Road in Rivers State to a private investor for reconstruction and management.
The Committee described the washed-out road as a key transport artery for the nation’s economy.
Speaking at the Oil and Gas Free Zone in Onne during an oversight visit, Senator Francis Fadahunsi, chairman of the committee, decried the deplorable state of the road, and said the lone access road to the oil and gas industrial hub in the Eleme-Onne axis of Rivers State needs to be urgently saved from total disrepair in order to prevent adverse impact on industries located in the area that could lead to a massive loss of jobs and revenue to government.
The Eleme-Onne Road is part of the East-West Road network and serves as the only access to the Port Harcourt Refineries at Eleme; the Onne Port Complex; the nation’s flagship Oil and Gas Free Zone at Onne; the Indorama-Eleme Petrochemicals Company, which is the nation’s leading fertilizer producer and exporter; as well as the Notore Industries Limited, another fertilizer producer and promoter of the Notore Industrial City (a free zone).
The committee commended progress at the free zone after a tour of facilities at the special economic hub and presentations by the free zone regulator, the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA), as well as free zond operators which included Intels Nigeria Limited and FMCEquip, makers of equipment for deep sea oil drilling. Senator Fadahunsi described Onne Free Zone as a successful initiative in public-private sector project and explained that the committee was conducting the oversight visit in effort to work with OGFZA and other stakeholders in the zone to generate more jobs for Nigerians.
OGFZA presented progress report in infrastructure development, increase in investments and export value, as well as human capital development to the committee. Following the presentation, Mr Umana Okon Umana, managing director of OGFZA, re-enforced the call on the Federal Government to concession the Eleme-Onne section of the East-West Road.
FMCEquip, operator in the free zone, in its presentation, reported 96 per cent compliance in local content laws and regulations, and paid tribute to OGFZA for being “very supportive;” Intels on its part briefed the committee on its billions of dollar investments in infrastructure in the free zone and community support in Rivers State, Cross River and Delta states