Following the contract signing and kick-off meeting with Transaction Advisers and Master Planners for Ibom Deep Seaport project and Ibom Industrial City project, the governor of Akwa-Ibom state, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has labeled the achievement as a historic event which marks yet another significant milestone in the journey towards actualizing the Ibom Deep Sea Port and Ibom Industrial City project.
The Governor expressed delight during the kick-off meeting with Transaction Advisers and Master Planners as he believed that the Ibom Deep Sea Ports and Industrial City projects were series of important events in recent times that underscore his five-point agenda and his determination towards aggressive industrialization to create and sustain wealth for the people of Akwa-Ibom state and improve the nation’s economy at large.
The persistent fall in the price of crude oil in the global markets has left Nigeria has been battling with a dwindling economy which thrives on crude oil as a mono product and this consequently drained the economies of many States in Nigeria. Yet, the lucrative Maritime transportation sector has not been fully harnessed in preference to the oil sector in many states.
Pundits have tipped the creation of deep seaports to positively impact on the overall cargo handling capacity of Nigerian ports and thereby increase Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Governor of Akwa-Ibom, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has recognized the significance of the maritime sector to the Nigerian economy which led him to inaugurate the Akwa-Ibom State Technical Committee for the realization of Ibom Deep Sea Port in July 2015 in just his first few months in office.
Mr. Udom said, “The new wave of challenge therefore is for States in Nigeria and particularly leaders who hold the people’s mandate in trust to arise and evolve alternative ways of sustainable economic growth and prosperity as well as guaranteeing survival for its teeming populace. It is this awareness that motivated me to launch the ‘dakkada’ initiative, a philosophy that demands and calls for spiritual and attitudinal rebirth. The existence of seaports helps turn undeveloped areas rapidly into trade centers and industrial zones which create jobs and business opportunities. This is the case with Lagos in the South West and Port Harcourt in the South-South whose internally generated revenue towers higher than most of other states in Nigeria.”
Mr. Udom also swiftly appointed the Transaction Adviser (TA), the Master Planners, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) as a reputable Project Manager underscore his determine to actualize the Ibom projects which promises to develop the area of transportation, facilitation of trade and commerce, revenue generation, job creation, and promotion of tourism.
Udom implored the people of Akwa Ibom state to preserve and protect government investments in with regards to the new projects and urged the citizenry to continue to support his administration in its determination to equitably develop and improve the living standard of community through provision of massive infrastructure and industrialization.
Mfon Ekong Usoro, the chairman of the Technical Committee (TC) on Ibom Deep Seaport project, acknowledged that the signing ceremony and kick-off meeting signals the full commencement of work on the development of a full business case and procurement of private investors for the Ibom Deep Sea Port which will be accomplished in compliance with applicable regulatory guidelines and laws.
“This signals the full commencement of work. With this event, Akwa Ibom has achieved one of the tasks assigned to it by the Ministerial Project Development and Steering Committee of the Federal Ministry of Transport. I want to emphasize that the Akwa Ibom Technical Committee on Ibom Deep Sea Port is working closely with the Project Delivery Team of the Nigerian Port Authority and in cooperation with the Ministerial Project Development and Steering Committee”, Usoro said.
While speaking at the ceremony, Usoro revealed that the Technical Committee recognized that the Ibom Deep Seaport was an integral part of the 14,400 hectares Ibom Industrial City, thus emphasized the need for the development of the Ibom Deep Seaport project and the Ibom Industrial City project to progress at the same pace.
The Technical Committee engaged the services of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as Programme Managers to assist in facilitating the selection process which involved the identification of International Transaction Advisors and Master Planners, selecting 10 potential Transaction Advisors and 10 potential Master Planners by the Technical Committee, developing and circulating Request for Proposals (RFP) for Ibom Deep Seaport and Ibom Industrial City to selected potential Transaction Advisors and potential Master Planners, selection of multidisciplinary Evaluation Committee to conduct the technical and financial evaluation of bidders’ proposals, conduct of the technical and financial evaluation for the selected bidders and the Technical Committee’s Legal Team developed a draft contract for negotiation with the successful bidders.
“It is my pleasure, on behalf of the government and the entire people of Akwa Ibom State to formally welcome the Global Maritime and Port Services Pte Ltd (GMAPS) – Transaction Adviser; and Dar Al-Handasah Consultants (Shair and Partners) – Master Planners, The General Manager, Capital Projects representing the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and formalize the expression of interest in the development of Ibom Deep Sea Port by the CCECC as well as other associated activities for the development of the Ibom Deep Sea Port project. The Certificate of Occupancy of the designated port area is ready and will be handed over to the Managing Director possibly next week”, the governor stressed.
With the increase in Nigeria’s population expected to result to urban expansion and increased demand for more markets; the handling capacity of ports in Nigeria which is put at 60 million metric tonnes will need upgrading and the Ibom Deep Seaport and Industrial City is set to bring untold economic fortunes to the inhabitants of the state and the nation as well as achieving the much needed upgrade.
By Kenneth Jukpor