By James Emejo in Abuja
The Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Housing & Special Duties, Mr. Akan Okon has said that work on the Ibom Deep Seaport project has attained 75 percent completion.
He stated that the project which has two phases of completion is expected to be ready by the second quarter of next year.
Speaking with THISDAY during a meeting of the Ministerial Project Committee, he said the project had reached an advanced stage as call for expressions of interest (EOIs) is about to be issued to respective investors.
The committee is saddled with powers to approve each stage of the project which is currently at the procurement level.
According to him, the current administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel is working consciously to ensure the seaport comes to fruition during its lifespan especially in view of the immense economic benefits to the people of the state and the country in general.
Okon said: “This project is not only for the Akwa Ibom State Government but also a project between the federal government and state.
“As you know, anywhere in the world where you have ports, it’s capable of changing the narrative of such country.
“I believe as you all know that it’s going to offer many opportunities to our people and generate revenue for both state and federal government.”
However, he explained: “Port development is not just as building a sky-scrapper or any building for that manner; there’s a lot of paper work that’s involved. For us to get to the procurement stage, I will say about 75 percent of the work has been done and I am certain that by second quarter of next year, it will be ready.
Parties present at the meeting held in Abuja representatives from the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), ICRC, Federal Ministry of Transport, Akwa Ibom State Government, the project transaction advisor/consultant- Global Maritime and Ports Services (GMAPS), Singapore and also PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) which are also transaction advisers/project managers.
The development of the first phase of the port will comprise a total land area (inclusive of dug-out basin) of approximately 505 hectares Â· 20km channel approach with 450m design width to provide for two way vessel traffic Â· Marine approach, channel depth and turning basin design based on container vessel of 100,000 DWT; LOA 350m; Draft 15m; Beam 48mÂ· 2 x breakwaters – 1,350m and 600m and Naval facility for security.
The federal government had on September 18, 2012 inaugurated the ministerial project committee for the project.
The compliance certificate for the Ibom Deep Sea Port was issued to the Federal Ministry of Transportation by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) on October 8, 2014.
The port is being developed on a concept of design, build, finance, maintain, operate and transfer basis for 50 years and long term amortisation scheme with the contribution of federal government limited to public equity.
The project will be owned by the federal government through the Nigeria Ports Authority in partnership with Akwa Ibom State Government and private investors.
The Ibom Deep Seaport is in line with the Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMoT) plans to augment port capacity in Nigeria and a key component of Akwa Ibomâ€™s economic empowerment plans.