After 45 Years, FG Concessions Onitsha River Port For N4billion

After 45 Years, FG Concessions Onitsha River Port For N4billion
Onitsha Port

 

The Federal Government has finally concessioned the Onitsha River Port in Anambra State for N4billion under a Public Private Partnership(PPP) arrangement, thereby ending 45 years of promises to make the port functional by successive administrations dating back to the civilian government of President Shehu Shagari.

 

Federal Government is to earn the sum of N23billion in 30 years duration of the concession, according to the Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) signed by the government and the concessionaires. But details of Outline Business Case(OBC), the viability of the project and other development plans were not provided.

Universal Elysium Consortium emerged the preferred bidder-concessionaire through an open bid process for the facility which was under concession for five years following the  controversy that marred the previous exercise.

 

The exercise midwife by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission(ICRC) produced a consortium of firms comprising Universal Elysium Limited as lead investor,China National Electrical Engineering Limited(EPC Contractor),Port of ANTWERP(Technical Partner) and China Harbour Engineering Company (Nig.) Ltd as another Technical partner.

Speaking during the concession exercise, the Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki said that the Onitsha river port was positioned to generate over N23billion for the Federal Government in 30 years.

Saraki,  said on Thursday in Abuja that the port had lots of economic benefits to the country.

According to her, the port will among other things, ensure the 60 per cent shipped cargoes which hitherto goes through Onne port to Onitsha to be transported directly.

”So there is a lot of economic growth, there is going to be creation of wealth, creation of jobs, security and greater development.

”We hope it is a catalyst for other river ports, so that it will decongest other ports and bring about growth.

”You know the traffic on our road, the state of our roads as well as the tankers, and freight being moved on our roads have now reduced. And so it is a very good thing and we are exceptionally proud that at long last we have actually achieved this.

 

”It’s being signed and we look forward to the growth there to materialise,”Saraki said.

According to the Minister, the Baro, Lokoja and Oguta ports, which are at different stages of completion, will be considered after the Onitsha port.

”The most important thing is that we already have interest from potential investors who want to actually take over this.”

The Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority, (NIWA), Dr George Moghalu, said the Onitsha port would reduce the volume of cargoes transported via roads to the South East.

Moghalu said:”Our roads are not designed to carry the kind of weight they are carrying.

”Over 60 per cent of the containers that arrive Nigeria through Onne, Tin Can or Apapa port ends up in Onitsha and what it translates is that these containers are moved by trailers.

”Onitsha port is very well positioned to play a key role in addressing this if opportunities are provided.”

He commended the concessionaires  in the efforts they were already making in bringing in investors into the country.

Moghalu also expressed hope that the concession would open up opportunities for other river ports in the country to be given due considerations.

Meanwhile, the Acting Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission,(ICRC), Mr Michael Ohiani, reiterated that the 30 years concession would generate over N23 billion to the government.

”Over the 30-year concession period, the concessionaire will be responsible for all the activities and maintenance of the port.

”The asset along with the entire infrastructure will be returned to the authorities at the end of the concession period.

”The redevelopment of Onitsha River Port is seen as a boost to commercial activities in the South East.

”Importers and traders from the commercial towns of Onitsha, Nnewi, Aba and Ogbete-Enugu see the re-launch as a welcome development from the Federal Government.

”The port will serve as an alternative mode of transporting goods from Lagos and Port Harcourt by road.

 

The Managing Director of Universal Elysium Consortium Limited, Dr. George Nwangwu said he is comfortable making  the investments, adding that his company is willing to rehabilitate the port and ensure that it runs profitably. “ We will invest N4billion in the first instance and will continue to invest.”

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