Olusegun Aganga, Trade and Investment Minister
By Crusoe Osagie
Belgian group, Rent-A-Port, and private development partners of Ondo and Ogun States OK Free Trade Zone (OKFTZ), has signed ports development and operation agreements in the Middle East and in South East Asia, strengthening its global leadership position as specialists in the sector.
The company announced that it entered into partnership agreement with the Port of Antwerp and the Omani Government, and has obtained the concession for the development and the operation of the Port of Duqm.
In Nigeria, Rent-A-Port is currently developing the 10,000ha OKFTZ in partnership with the Ondo and Ogun State Governments for light and heavy industries, oil and gas and logistic services, including business districts and residential areas.
According to the company, OKFTZ, which is located along the coast of Ogun and Ondo States, is mainly a marine infrastructure being developed to create marine access to the zone and will include a state-of-the-art Deep Seaport that will make the OKFTZ the hub of West Africa and gateway to the world.
The company also disclosed that hinterland connection is already in place via new road infrastructure linking the coast up to the Benin-city expressway around Ore.
The contract signing ceremony in Oman by the country’s Minister of Transport and Communications, Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed al Futaisi, Chairman of the Special Economic Zone Authority (SEZA), Yahya bin Saeed al Jabri, and the CEO of Rent-A-Port, Marc Stordiau was witnessed by the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Gulf States, Didier Reynders.
Stordiau noted that the new port which has a strategic location and will be the gateway to the Gulf States is the masterpiece in the prestigious project of the Omani Head of State, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, and also includes a state of the art industrial zone with rail, road and water access.
“Not only does it lie on the main shipping routes between the Far East and Europe, but it will also enable ships to avoid the Street of Hormuz, the sole entrance to the Persian Gulf and often at stake in political battles with Iran,” he said
He added that in joint venture with EMUC, the consortium is projecting to develop all utilities for the site, including gas, power and water supply.
He disclosed that the company’s global success continued in South East Asia with the signing of another agreement with the Vietnamese government for the development of the second phase of the Dinh-Vu Industrial Zone.
The agreement, which was signed in the presence of the Belgian Prime Minister, Mr. Di Rupo, follows the successful development of the first phase of the Dinh-Vu Industrial Zone by the company.
“Rent-A-Port and the Vietnamese government have signed the agreement for the further development of the zone and the related Dinh-Vu Port. At present 50 per cent is occupied by international customers such as Bridgestone, Chevron, IHI, Toyota and Tsusho. Dinh-Vu Industrial Zone has attracted over 47 projects with a total investment of more than $2.8 billion,” Stordiau said.
Alhaji Umar Munir Abubakar is the substantive Managing Director of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), as confirmed by President Goodluck Jonathan. The appointment, which took effect from December 28, 2009, is for a four-year term.
Until his appointment, Abubakar was the Acting Managing Director of the Fund. He joined the NSITF in 1990 after transferring his services from Bauchi State Government where he held the position of a Permanent-Secretary.
Before his appointment as the Acting Managing Director/Chief Executive in December 2009, he was the Funds’ Executive Director (Administration), a position Abubakar had held since 2005.