Onithha River Port
The Federal Government is to concession the Onitsha River Port, inaugurated about five weeks ago, in the first quarter of 2013, THISDAY has learnt.
It was gathered that the consultant for the exercise would soon be made public to begin work on the Outline Business Case (OBC), which is also known as feasibility study.
The consultant, sources close to Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) said, is expected to work on the financial model and other alternatives that will be presented to the Infrastructural Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) responsible for the concessioning.
The source told our correspondent that from all indications, the OBC would be ready in the first quarter of next year when it will be presented to the ICRC.
The process of concessioning, which involves the World Bank, our source said, is expected to kick off sometime between July and August, about three months after the ICRC would have received the OBC.
It was further gathered that the concessioning would first start with the Onitsha River Port, followed by the Lokoja River Port, which has started operation.
Other river ports that will equally be concessioned include Baro River Port, in Niger State that is 70 percent ready, Degema River Port in Rivers State and Oguta River Port in Imo State.
The source said the feasibility report will cover all the River ports.
In all the process, the World Bank is being involved to ensure transparency in the exercise, the source added.
Minister of Transport Senator Idris Umar had said during the inauguration of Onitsha port that processes leading to the concessioning of the ports to private sector operator by the Federal Ministry of Transport and National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) in collaboration with Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) were in progress.
He, however, did not give details as to the stage of the process.
While inaugurating Onitsha River Port, President Goodluck Jonathan said as a nation there was the need to explore all the available opportunities in developing the economy, adding that the Onitsha River Port and others being rehabilitated would boost commercial activities in the country.