Okon Bassey in Uyo
Following the increased interest by the federal government, more than 100 local and foreign companies have reportedly indicated interest in the development of the Ibom Deep Seaport in Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
Speaking during an interview on Monday in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Housing and Special Duties, Mr. Akan Okon stressed that despite the interest so far shown in the project, the bid process was still open till March 16, 2018.
He attributed the level of success recorded in the project to the commitment of the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel whom he said brought to bear his experience in private sector in the project execution of that magnitude.
He noted that soon on coming on board, the governor set up a committee made up of experience and seasoned people in the maritime industry to pilot the realisation of the Ibom Deep Seaport.
According to him, for the first time since the conception of the project about five years ago the committee has been able to push to a critical level seen as a major milestone to achieve the project.
Already, Okon said the ministerial steering committee met in Abuja and approved procedures for procurement which led to publication of qualification for interested port builder.
â€œI am happy to tell you that as of Tuesday the bid process was still open and the response was encouraging.
â€œWe have over 100 companies all over the world showing interest and it is expected more are coming. The closure has been extended to March 16, 2018.
â€œAfter that, the evaluation committee is going to meet to evaluate and come up with a preferred institution that will build the port,” he stated.
The commissioner whose ministry will oversee the project linked the high interest being shown on the project to the location and draft of the port.
â€œWithout dredging, the port is about 17-18 metres deep, so it can take any large ship than cannot go near any other port in the country. The width is about 600 metres which is the side of six football fields.
â€œThat is why you see in some of the ports in the country when vessels come they cannot berth and rather use other smaller vessels to go and remove goods. It will not be so at the Ibom Deep Seaport.
â€œThe issue of congestion is not there because the length is about 600,000 metres. It is a modern port and a port for the future.
â€œI am certain that by the time the evaluation is completed and the preferred developer chosen, the actual construction work will commence. 75 per cent of the paper work prior to commencement of construction has been completed,â€ the commissioner stressed.