Akwa Ibom state government has vowed to start construction works at the Ibom Deep Seaport, following the approval of the project by the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday.
Approval of the Full Business Case of the project by the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday signalled a completion of series of approvals for the prime A¹ project which has outlasted two previous administrations.
During the state-wide broadcast to mark the 33rd anniversary of the state, in Uyo, the Akwa-Ibom state capital, earlier in the year, governor Udom Emmanuel vowed that his administration will secure a breakthrough for the project, revealing that government was working hard to ensure cooperation with all the regulatory agencies in fulfilment of the project.
“Since his emergence, Governor Udom Emmanuel has invested enormous energy, business contacts and resources toward acquiring requisite approvals for the commencement of the project because he believes it will greatly enhance the state’s economy and create vast employment opportunities for Nigerians,” noted the Commissioner for Economic Development and Deep Seaport, Mr. Akan Okon.
Mr. Okon disclosed that since “port construction is on the Exclusive List the Ibom Deep Seaport needed to be approved by the Federal Government.
“It started with an OVC and approval of the procurement process, we then moved to the setting up of the Ministerial Project Development Steering Committee made up of representatives from the Federal Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) and Federal Ministry of Finance.
“This committee approved the procurement process for the port which included issuance of request for qualification, request for proposal from prospective bidders. Eventually, those that submitted were evaluated and a preferred bidder emerged by name Bollore/Power China.
“With that emergence, we needed to prepare a Full Business Case for the development of Ibom Deep Seaport, which is what has been approved by the Federal Executive Council today for Ibom Deep Seaport to commence construction”.
The Commissioner further revealed that with the final approval the project will kick start almost immediately, adding “this is what we’ve been waiting for. We have a preferred bidder in place and even as the process of approval was ongoing, we had appointed a technical team to carry on with the various studies required for the construction of the port jointly between the State government and the preferred bidder”.
He emphasized that Governor Udom Emmanuel has fulfilled his promise to Akwa Ibom people as regards the project.
“I’m very certain that within the tenure of His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel, we’ll receive the first vessel in that port. The Governor believes strongly that we’ve very determined and intelligent young people in this State who must be gainfully employed and he believes that the Ibom Deep Seaport will provide such opportunities which is why he has not relented in committing resources to ensure the actualization of the project”.
“My advice to our people especially the youth is that we don’t have to wait for the project to kickstart for us to start preparing for the emerging opportunities. Now that approval has finally been secured, we should upgrade our knowledge and obtain relevant skills that will be required, from construction to operation of the port, so that we can meet qualifications to work there.”
He urged Akwa Ibom citizens within the State and in Diaspora to seize opportunity in the port to invest in development of the State.