By Okon Bassey in Uyo
Following the level of Federal Government interest, more than 100 companies across the globe have reportedly indicated interest for the development of the Ibom Deep Sea port in Ibaka, Mbo local government area of Akwa Ibom State.
Speaking during an interview 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 bidding 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 project execution of that magnitude.
Soon on coming on board, he said 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 Sea port.
According to him, for the first time since the conception of the project about five years ago the committee had been able to push to a critical level seen as a major milestone to achieve the project.
Already, Mr. Okon said the Ministerial Steering Committee met in Abuja and approved procedures for procurement which led to publication of qualification for interested port builder.
“I am happy to tell you that the bidding is still open and the response is encouraging.
“We have over 100 companies all over the world showing interest and it is expected more are coming. The closure is extended to March 16, 2018.
“After 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 oversee the project linked the high interest being shown on the project to the location and draft of the port.
“Without 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 size of six football fields.
“That is why you see in some of the ports in the country when vessels come they cannot berth rather use other smaller vessels to go and remove goods. It will not be so at the Ibom deep Sea Port.
“The 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.
“I am certain that by the time the evaluation is completed and the preferred developer chosen, the actual construction work will commence. 75 percent of the paper work prior to commencement of construction has been completed”, the Commissioner stressed.