A’Ibom Concludes Plans To Deliver Ibaka Deep Seaport Project | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Business, Maritime

A’Ibom Concludes Plans To Deliver Ibaka Deep Seaport Project

Posted: Mar 17, 2016 at 1:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Idongesit Ashameri, Uyo

Akwa Ibom State government says it has concluded plans to deliver the long awaited Ibaka Deep Seaport project to the people of the state not later than 2019. The project which has almost rolled into the band of other white elephant projects in the state, despite being constantly captured in budgetary allocations since inception of the immediate past administration, bounced back to active publicity last week as the state Commissioner for Special Duties, Engr. Etido Inyang took time to explain the journey so far.

Although this would not be the first time the state government is fixing deadline for this project as it was earlier scheduled to be delivered in 2015, coming out to admit that the state had played blind gambling around the multi-billion Dollar project gives reason to believe that the immediate past administration lacked well thought out idea on the components of such huge project, hence staking so much funds on an aimless journey. This acknowledgment however suggests that the present administration may have finally figured out a direction which may lead to the realization of the widely publicised project.

?”When Akpabio came to power, there were a lot of concepts of developing a seaport. Individuals and even government did not have a position. And the land mass acquired was about 5000 plus hectares. It was in the era of Akpabio that we acquired up to 14,400 hectares of lands . This was so because when we did the initial interrogation with the Nigerian Port Authority-NPA and other stakeholders that are developing seaports.”

“As we went to work, we got a consultant, Wole Parsons . They did a lot of simulations -table study for the Ibom Industrial City . Ibom industrial city was to cover 14,400 hectares and during this period, there was a lot of brainstorming, road shows etc. And we discovered that there was no need to deceive ourselves that we want to create an industrial city without a deep seaport. So the concept of a deep seaport now came. This was in 2008.

“We reached a conclusion that for us to succeed on industrial city, we need to first of all establish a deep seaport. And within this period, we decided to get a license for a free trade zone, its a building block for an industrial city, and for a deep seaport “He said. ?

“Despite being captured in yearly budgetary allocations throughout the eight years of Akpabio’s two term in office, the only achievements as presented by the Special Duties Commissioner who was then Special Adviser on Technical Matters were; perimeter survey in the entire 14,400 hectares, application for license for a free trade zone, and an Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA.”

Sadly, further steps taken by the immediate past administration as enumerated by Engr Inyang confirmed speculations by Akwa Ibom people that the administration not only played blind jamboree with resources of the state in the name of establishing a deep seaport, but also aimlessly threw funds about on uncertain ventures.

He added: “We did that and carried out a study of relocation because you have to relocate the people from that 14,400 hectares. We submitted our proposals and went through interviews. We went with Wole Parsons, these are consultants. We were sure we needed to developed an industrial city, but we wanted to start with a deep seaport. The applications were pulled up and we were given a provisional approval. Monies were asked to be paid for the license , which we did. At that point, we had a break. After the break. We went to Europe and that was how FELA concepts, an indigenous transaction adviser, and what we call Maritime Business Solutions MTBS came to play”.?

“They were the major transaction advisers for the development of the seaport. These two came together and then the Minister of Transport developed a concept which was working for other areas. They developed a concept, what is called Ministerial Project Development Steering Committee, MPDTS”.

“This became a conglomerate of the ministry of transport, NPA, Akwa Ibom state government, and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Committee, ICRC. ICRC is an agency of the federal government regulating infrastructure in the country . This was to fastrack the development of the deep seaport. At this point, we went to work with the transaction advisers to develop the deep seaport”.?

 

“At the end of this study, Wole Parsons then said let’s go and have a groundbreaking ceremony to showcase the end of this transaction and the beginning of the development of the concept.

At this point, we discovered that it is the deep seaport that we should go for. So that aspect was then abandoned, that we should go for the deep seaport and then we now engaged FELA concepts and MPDTS. That was the stage at the conclusion of the Akpabio tenure.”

?It could be recalled that when Governor Udom Emmanuel came into office, one of the first things he did, having been part of the MPDTS, as Secretary to State Government, was the inauguration of the Ibom deep seaport technical committee to fast track the project.

The committee was expected to come up with transaction advisers that will take the state to the next business case. So far, the committee, according to the Special Duties Commissioner has been able to identify Price Water House as consultant. Price Water House, according to him has gone into a bidding concepts with Array of requirements.

“GMaps, a world acclaimed engineering firm for the development of seaports, came tops in the bidding and Dar Andasar came as transaction advisers for the development of the industrial city”, he reported.

“Wole Parsons did a good job and submitted their report. But we needed to freshen that up because the location has changed slightly and the concept of which Wole Parsons did has equally changed slightly from what we feel as of this time. We need to develop an industrial city that will be viable. Dar Andasar today has been commissioned by His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel through the Ibom deep seaport technical committee to move the project forward, liaise with GMaps to develop a final business case that will have the best operators, and that will attract investors.” he added.