By Ifeyinwa Obi
Both local and foreign investors have indicated interest in the proposed Akwa Ibom Deep Seaport.
Already, the ministerial project development and steering committee has submitted a copy of the final Outline Business Case (OBC) to the Federal Ministry of Transport and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
Members of the committee comprise officials of the Federal Ministry of Transport, NPA and the consulting firm, Felak Concept Limited.
Secretary of the Committee, Dikko Bala, who spoke during the submission of OBC to NPA in Lagos, commended the Managing Director of the parastatal, Habib Abdullahi, for “his support and unflinching commitment to the project”.
He explained that the project would be executed under the Long Term Amortization Scheme (LTAS).
Highlight of the event was the presentation of the OBC to Abdullahi by the Managing Director of Felak Concept, Dr Aisha Achimugu.
Abdullahi also reiterated the unflinching commitment of the Authority to the successful take-off and timely completion of the Ibom Deep Sea Port.
According to the Managing Director, NPA, as a stakeholder and a technical regulator has much to gain from the success of the Ibom Deep Sea project, adding that the Authority’s participation in such projects, under the Private Partnership Projects (PPP) has been very beneficial “as demonstrated in the Onne Port project”.
While appreciating the diligence of the committee members, Abdullahi commended Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, for initiating the project “considering its enormous economic potentials to the state and the nation at large”.
He enjoined other states in the federation to emulate Akwa-Ibom State in this direction by embarking on projects, which according to him will promote the well being of their citizenry and “improve their economic empowerment.
Abdullahi was also quoted in a statement signed by NPA’s Principal Manager, I.A. Suwaid as saying the Federal Government desire to encourage state Governments invest in the maritime sector, under PPP prompted NPA’s current involvement in other proposed deep sea ports projects in Lekki Deep Sea Port, Badagry Deep Sea Port, and Olokola Deep Sea Port.
The Minister of Transport, Idris Umar had recently announced commencement of the procurement procedure for the Ibom deep seaport project.
Umar said: “The necessary evaluation will be carried out with the transaction advisers. We have to work assiduously with the OBC document to ensure that the procurement processes commence as soon as possible.”
The State Governor, Godswill Akpabio recently reiterated the commitment of his administration to the construction of the project.
The Governor said: ‘’The Ibaka Seaport would be an avenue for job creation. And Nigerians must know that a port in Akwa Ibom State is not to create jobs only for Akwa Ibom people, but for all Nigerians.
He added: ‘’I am determined to correct the mistakes of the past where industries were created or located only where prominent people came from; and nobody thought of job creations or of economic activities that would sprung out of the companies.”