By Harris Emmanuel
Two Chinese companies have won the bid to construct the multi-billion dollars Ibom Deep SeaPort, a public-private partnership project located in Mbo Council of Akwa Ibom State.
The lucky companies are the Bollore-PowerChina consortium which emerged as the preferred bidder and China harbor engineering company as the reserved bidder.
Chairman of the Ibom Deep Seaport Technical Committee, Mfon Usoro, disclosed this in Uyo, the State capital during a meeting with the ministerial project development committee, stating that the next stage would be the commencement of negotiation with the preferred bidder in compliance with all extant rules stipulated by the committee.
According to her, the Committee went through all the internationally accepted procurement processes that will lead to the actualization of the port with backing from Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) and the Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMOT).
She said, We have also completed works in the Full Business Case, a part of why we convened today with the Federal Ministry of Finance, ICRC, NPA, and the FMOT, was to agree on work-plan between now and end of first quarter of the year, 2020 so we can have final approval from the Federal Government on the project which is the Full Business Case.’’
Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, who represented the governor, commended the relevant government agencies for throwing their weights behind the actualization of the project.
He said, “On behalf of the Akwa Ibom State Government (AKSG), I thank the Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMOT), Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) for giving full and unstinting support to the AKSG throughout the IDSP PPP procurement process, including the recently concluded RFP bids opening and evaluation milestones which saw to the selection of the Preferred and Reserved Bidders.
“The AKSG is unwavering in its determination and will work in tandem with the FMOT and NPA to realize the IDSP. Upon its completion, the Ibom Deep Seaport is poised to bring smart, world-class port handling capacity to the doorsteps of Akwa Ibom State and to serve the cargo handling demand of the West and Central African countries, States in the South-South as well as South-East regions of Nigeria. We are confident that the IDSP will be pivotal to the economic development of the State and the surrounding regions.’’
For his part, Director-General of Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Chidi Izuwah, affirmed that it was time to do the groundbreaking for the commencement of the project given the level of success recorded by the State Technical Working Committee on the realization of the Ibom Deep Seaport.
He urged the Committee to be target driven in order to achieve the task and observed that the road infrastructure outlay designed for access to and evacuation of goods and services from the deep seaport was world-class and visionary, adding that, ‘’as God’s natural gift to Nigeria, Ibom Deep Seaport will be harnessed by the Federal Government in collaboration with the Akwa Ibom State Government, the National Assembly, Technical Partners, and core investors to decongest Lagos when it becomes operational.’’
He said the superhighway as well as carefully designed road networks put in place by the State Government which the Works Commissioner, Ephraim Inyangeyen conducted them around, is proof that the State is very committed and determined to accomplish the vision of a functional, world-class deep seaport.
Izuwah dismissed fears that the Federal Government may play politics with the project, insisting that, President Muhammad Buhari was totally committed to transforming all parts of Nigeria with positive development with no political bias whatsoever.