The Ibom deep seaport has been described as a project that will be of immense value to Nigeria, in terms of employment generation, increase in port capacity, and also improve efficiency in shipping business.
Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Economic Development, Akan Okon, who made this known while speaking with The Guardian in Uyo, said the state is banking on the huge economic potential of the deep seaport in job creation and decongesting existing port facilities.
He added that the port, estimated to cost about $4.6 billion, will be built in phases, and would be of benefit to the entire country, while easing the clearance of goods.
He explained that the deep seaport, which is designed for very large vessels that can load over 13,000 containers in one voyage, will also serve as a trans-shipment port as smaller vessels will be used to lighter cargoes from the mega vessels to seaports, and river ports closer to the consignee’s within and outside Nigeria.
Okon revealed that the project is at the final stage of approval, adding that the Full Business Case (FBC) for the project has been submitted to the Federal Ministry of Transport, for presentation to the Federal Executive Council.
He said the project has gone through the entire procurement process, and chosen a preferred bidder, to which all federal agencies involved in port development had given their support towards its realization.
He said the local content element for Nigerians will be adhered to according to applicable laws, noting that the deep seaport project is one of the priorities of the state government, as it also has an industrial city sited alongside, which will provide opportunities for heavy and small industries.
His words: “Ibom deep seaport has a lot of advantages; it’s a natural deep seaport that will give room for large investment. We will have cargo terminal, liquid terminal, and bulk terminal. We have made significant progress and the Ministerial Project Development Steering Committee with membership from Akwa Ibom State Government, ICRC, NPA, and Ministries of Transport and Finance. They have all done excellent work to take this project the way it is taken. Certificate of Full Business Compliance has been issued by ICRC to the Federal Ministry, which shows that the project is ready for presentation to the Federal Executive Council.”
On initiatives put in place by the government to cushion effect of the Covid 19 pandemic, Okon Agricultural sector will play a major role in kick-starting economic activities in the state.
Okon said the Governor has put in place post-Covid-19 Economic Reconstruction Team headed by a renowned economist, Professor Akpan Ekpo, with other professionals to design a road map for management of the pandemic.
His said: “The activities of the government are geared towards lifting people out of poverty, improving the standard of living and well-being of the citizens. The committee had completed its own work and the time frame, recommendations are being implemented to take the state out of any difficult time.”