…ADB ready to give us Sovereign guarantee
By Ike Uchechukwu
The Cross River Debt Review and Development Commission has revealed that the proposed Bakassi Deep Seaport to sighted in State, will cost between $1.7 billion and $2 billion.
The Commission made this known at the weekend during an interactive session with journalists in Calabar.
The commission, constituted by the Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, said that the funds for the project would be sourced mainly from foreign/private investors with financial facilities and support from African Development Bank, ADB who is ready to grant sovereign guarantee to the state.
Speaking with journalists, Chairman of the commission, Chris Agara Esq, revealed that with the approval by the Federal government and the issuance of the Outline Business Case , OBC, certificate all was now set to go into the proposed deep seaport project.
He added that with the OBC issued through the Federal Ministry of Transportation,Cross River state government will make sure that the deepsea port becomes a reality as well as bring economic growth and development to the country.
He said: ” With the issuance of the OBC we have a go-ahead for the construction of the proposed deepsea port. All ports belong to Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, by extension to the federal government.
“So, before you start anything, they must give you the right of way. So, it is also our responsibility that we get the deep seaport in Bakassi also functional. After getting this now, the authority, the power, energy to commence activities in that port starts now.
“But even at that, we make sure we have the right people like the concessionaire who will help us develop the port because with this outline, Cross River State doesn’t have the money; because this port is going to cost about $1.7 billion to $2 billion to develop.
“Just the port alone and the state does not have that kind of money. But with what we have done now, we will get people who will come to invest because they know the viability of having this port here,” he said.
Speaking further he said that the African Development Bank ADB has given a nod to support the state government with the necessary financial facilities for the construction of the port and the proposed 275 kilometres superhighway, which will serve as evacuation corridor
He said: “Having a deep seaport in Cross River today is a reality because we have the OBC , Ministry of Transportation has put this in their portal that Cross River State has gotten OBC.
“We have interest from all over the world, and to gladden your heart as an indigene, today, we would have been saying okay, if people want to come and invest in Cross River State, they will have to seek for guarantees.
“I can also tell you that African Development Bank has promised to give Cross River State a sovereign guarantee to cover the deep seaport and superhighway,” he stated.
Agara said the Bakassi deep seaport would be of great economic benefit to the country because it would have a depth of about 20 metres and could anchor bigger vessels than what any of the existing ports in Lagos could handle and beyond
“In Nigeria, Lagos port that has the highest activities, the depth is 12 meters and that means some vessels can’t even anchor there.
“But the Bakassi deep seaport, the idea is to make sure that we have the required depth to bring the biggest vessel in the world that port, we are going as far as 20 metres of depth for the Bakassi deep seaport, so that the biggest vessels coming from anywhere in the world can anchor there,” he said.