By Eguono Odjegba
AMID controversy over the alleged suspension of work on the Badagry Deep Seaport, the Olokola Deep Seaport in Ondo State has been positioned to offer the South-West zone strategic shipping market and huge job opportunity, with a high prospect of redefining the economic power of the zone.
Managing Director of Victory Energy Resources Limited, Otuba Sola Olatunji, in a chat with Vanguard Maritime Report, said when the Olokola Deep Seaport comes on stream, it will create no less than a million jobs, directly and indirectly, as well as position the South West as a regional economic bloc to beat.
Olatunji explained that apart from being a major catalyst to the national economy, it has the capacity to attract over $9 billion in revenue annually, making it a major industrial estate.
It will be recalled that the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, recently announced the cancellation of the proposed Badagry Deep Seaport over alleged discrepancies in the consultant report.
As the controversy rages, some industry sources said rather than the alleged report of discrepancies, the real issue for the cancellation may not be unconnected with the Lagos traffic gridlock, which the addition of the Badagry deep seaport may further worsen.
Olatunji further explained that another selling point for the Olokola Deep Seaport, apart from its location adjudged as free of traffic gridlock, is it’s over nine meters natural draught.
He said: “Deep seaport business is all about logistics. I just mentioned to you that out of about 20 vessels that come to West Africa daily, 17 come to Nigeria. If the Olokola port is realized, all those vessels will go there for their maintenance, for their groceries and to bunker. Do you know the implication? Do you know how much will be accruable to Nigeria daily from that? Do you know what only channelling activities to these vessels will bring to our economy? We are talking of transactions that are all done in foreign exchange, it will be over $9billion yearly.”
He further explained that the Olokola River has the longest coast and deepest harbour draught in Nigeria, hence, will be able to take bigger vessels that cannot berth in Lagos and other river ports in Nigeria.
He said many ancillary services attached to shipping will help to generate more jobs for the people as well as attract investors into the country.
“So, you will now see new businesses thriving, new markets emerging because sailors will come out from the ships to go and buy things. Boat operators, ancillary service providers will come and the investor will put money in the business”, he added.