*Investors Indicate Interest
* Governor Eyes Next Stage
The outline business case (OBC) for the propose deep seaport in Ondo State is ready, the state government has said.
The OBC is one of the critical requirements to make the state dream of having its own deep seaport a reality.
This was disclosed in the state capital, Akure when the state governor, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu received the OBC.
Described as a multipurpose deep seaport, Akeredolu expressed satisfaction with the level of co-operation the project has received so far just as he pointed out that the confidence the consulting firm reposed in the viability of the project was commendable.
According to him, the avalanche of resources the state is blessed with, within its riverine communities coupled with the fact that the state has the longest coastline in the country would make the proposed port the hub for the West Africa sub-region.
Continuing, Akeredolu said: “This port is very important to me, to the people of the state, Nigeria and indeed West Africa. We are going to pursue this dream with vigour”.
He condemned the dearth of continuity and abandonment of projects by successive administrations saying that it remains the greatest problem retarding the development of most states in the country.
Giving an insight into the project, the governor said if the vision of the Chief Olusegun Agagu administration on establishing a seaport for Ondo State had been kept alive by the immediate past administration, Ondo State would by now become a critical player in the maritime sector of the country.
Head of the consulting firm, OIM-FBS Consortium, Mr. Ekong Etim had earlier stated that the OBC is essentially a confirmation of Akeredolu’s vision for the state.
Etim maintained that the port is a productive business worthy of venturing into by both public and private concerns.
Said he: “We are happy that our report confirms that the governor’s vision is viable. Its viability has been carefully assessed technically, legally, financially and economically.”
He revealed that the OBC has been submitted to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for onward processing through the Federal Ministry of Transportation and will subsequently receive the attention of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) for the issuance of certificate of compliance.
According to him, at the procurement stage which is final, prospective investors would be invited to form a consortium to finance the project.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Development and Investment/Chief Executive Officer, Ondo State Development and Investment Promotion Agency (ONDIPA), Boye Oyewumi in his remarks said: “In two years, we have been to places where people have not been in 14 to 16 years, that is no mean feat. Commitment starts from political will and the determination that whatever happens, this project must come to fruition. So we thank the governor for being actively involved in the project.”
Describing the project as an investment magnet, Oyewumi assured that given the location, it would enjoy the interest of international investors.
His word: “The construction of the port is off the state’s balance sheet. That means it will not be funded from the coffers of the state. Private investors would develop the port. When you have the magnet, metals are attracted to it. Investors, without even having a road show before we got to this stage, have been coming to us that they want to invest in the port.
“Two years ago, Dubai Port signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with us that they wanted to build the port. They did that based on the port’s feasibility which is different from the OBC. We also have a lot of Chinese, South African and French companies which have shown interest”.