THE Minister of Transport, Idris Umar, has said that the Onitsha, Oguta, Baro and Lokoja River Ports would be concessioned by 2014.
Mr. Umar stated this in an interview with the Europe correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria in London.
Apart from Onitsha River Port, which has already been inaugurated, the others are still under construction.
“We have inaugurated the River port in Onitsha, and will concession it next year, while the river ports in Oguta, and Baro will hopefully be completed this year and concessioned to the private sector next year.
“Also the Lokoja Port will be completed by the third quarter of 2014, and will be given out on concession to private operators immediately,’’ Umar said.
He said that the ministry was also working on the dredging of the River Benue, and planned to construct river port in Makurdi.
Meanwhile, the minister in a presentation at the International Maritime Summit in London briefed stakeholders on government’s effort to develop deep sea ports in the country.
“This is the ultimate solution to the over stretched existing ports facility, a memorandum is being presented to the Federal Executive Council to approve the development of the Lekki Deep Sea Port in Lagos.
“While in the case of Ibaka Deep Sea Port in Akwa Ibom State, a steering and project implementation committee has been constituted.
“Also discussions are in progress between the Nigeria Ports Authority, Lagos State Government and the private sector to develop the Badagry Deep Sea Port.”
He also highlighted the various investment opportunities in the maritime sector, and reforms put in place to safeguard investments.
Dalhatu Tafida, Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, U.K., in his remarks said that the maritime sector remained a key area of the nation’s economy.
“The sector cannot be under estimated, because without maritime sector, Nigeria as a country would have been suffocated, given the limits of rail and road transportation.’’
“That is why there is a huge development strategy by Nigeria to ensure that the sector improves, there is a growing British interest in the Nigerian maritime industry,” Mr. Tafida added.
The summit was jointly organised by the High Commission, and the Europe Branch of the Alumni Association of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron. (NAN)