By Okon Bassey
Following the approval for the building of the Ibom Deep Seaport, the Akwa Ibom State Government in conjunction with the private sector is to invest about $2.016 billion in the development of the first phase of the seaport.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) at its meeting last week granted federal government final approval for the construction of the Ibom Deep Seaport.
Speaking with newsmen in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital weekend, the State Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr. Akan Okon said the port would be constructed on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
“The first phase for the port construction is to cost $2.016 billion which the private sector will take 60 percent and the public sector 40 percent,” he said.
The government, he said, was projecting over 3,000 to 5,000 companies to provide services and customers at the port, stressing that the development of the port would significantly improve the revenue of the federal and state governments including the local communities.
According to him, about 300,000 jobs will be provided when the first phase of the port development is completed maintaining that the industrial city to be established would equally attract heavy and light industries to the port.
“The impact of the port will be felt not only at its location, but the entire state and beyond. When you have a port, a lot of businesses and activities will take place around there. We don’t expect less when the Ibom Deep Seaport is operational in our state,” he stated.
He emphasised that the Ibom Deep Seaport would add to port capacity in the country in term of quick clearance of goods or cargos Okon argued that the state government followed an internationally acceptable and transparent bidding process in selecting the preferred bidder for the development of the Ibom Deep Seaport.
“The bidding was done last year. We go through the processes, requested for qualification, proposal and subsequently evaluation of those submission by the Ministerial Project Steering Committee including members of the Technical Committee for the realization of the port representing Akwa Ibom State Government.
“The preferred bidder for the management of the port is Bollore/Power China Consultium. They are already managing 21 ports in Africa. The showed capacity and what it takes in port management.
“In the next one year something substantial will be achieved. We are working to ensure before the exist of the present state administration in 2023, the first vessel will berth at the port; and the Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel believes that this project is what is needed to turn around the economy of the state,” he said.