Dizeani Allison Madueke, Petroleum Minister
By Yemi Akinsuyi
Federal Government yesterday inaugurated a 13-man committee for the organisation of the 2013 oil and gas trade and investment forum with expectation of attracting over 500 local and international exhibitors.
The two-day forum, slated for October 24 and 26, is scheduled to hold at Onne Free Trade Zone, FTZ, Rivers State.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Samuel Ortom, while inaugurating the committee said government was targeting creation of about 60,000 jobs through Onne Free Trade Zone
Ortom said: “Government is concerned about attracting investment into the country particularly in the oil and gas where we have a comparative advantage. If we attract more investment it will create multiple opportunities for Nigerians in terms of job and wealth creation.
“We have over 30,000 people working in Onne as a result of the investment in the zone. We are targeting to double the number of job created”.
The Minister noted that the sector had contributed significantly to the development of the economy over the year.
He said: “As the oil and gas industry continues to play dominant role in the Nigerian economy, the free Zone concept would be central and strategic to defining a sustainable transformation of the national economy. The federal government is more than ever before committed to the principle of the free zone concept”.
The concept, according to the Minister, was anchored on an effective framework of regulations and guidelines and delivers the best dividends to both the investors and the host economy.
He noted that since inception, the Onne Oil and Gas free Zone had made tremendous and sustained progress in Foreign Direct Investment, Revenue generation, technology transfer employment and wealth creation.
The Chairman of the committee, Mr. Chubuisi Onyebuere, said the team intended to mobilise over 500 investors operating in the zone, as well as investors from all over the world.
“We are targeting close to over 500 exhibitors from across the globe. We are expanding the available space for exhibition by about 30 percent”, Onyebuere said.
He expressed confident that this year’s forum will be a huge success.