Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Akan Okon, has said that when fully completed, the Ibom Deep Seaport will change the economic fortunes of the state.
Ibom deep seaport is designed for very large vessels, vessels that can load over 13 thousand containers in one voyage. It will be a transshipment port as smaller vessels will re-distribute cargo from the mega vessels to sea ports, river ports closer to the consignees within Nigeria and outside the country.
The deep seaport project is driven by the Nigerian Port Authority and Federal Ministry of Transport, and Akwa Ibom. The project has the Global Maritime & Port Services PTE Limited as its transaction driver
The seaport is strategically located to serve West and Central African region, JDZ Sao Tome, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroun, Angola, Gabon, Congo, DRC Congo, Chad, etc. It is 5,129 hectares port development Interestingly Ibom Deep Sea Port (IDSP) project involves the development of a Greenfield Deep Seaport and accompanying Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in Akwa Ibom.
The port and FTZ are part of the proposed Ibom Industrial City initiative that will be established on a 14,400 hectare site donated by the state government at no value. The IDSP project is intended to become a major national and regional economic gateway that will provide additional container handling capacity for the country.
In addition to containers, the IDSP is expected to handle petroleum products (export and import), crude oil and natural gas (export), vehicles (import) and bulk trade in natural resources (import and export). It is planned to be the deepest port in the West African sub-region.
Before Christmas, the Udom administration disclosed that the first of the $4.6 billion IDSP has been approved by the Federal Government. The first phase will cost $2.016 billion, and construction up to the completion of the port will create 300,000 jobs in Akwa Ibom.
Okon disclosed that Abuja last December 16 granted the approval for implementation of the first phase of the deep seaport project in Akwa Ibom, pointing out that the first phase will help address the worrisome unemployment in the state.
According to the ommissioner, the construction of the seaport will address the issues of rising unemployment in the state and also enable the state implement schemes for job creation and poverty alleviation.
‘’Akwa Ibom is industrialised because this project, when operational will solve and arrest critical problems in the state most especially the issue of unemployment and then stimulate our state economy accordingly. The total cost of construction of the Ibom Deep Seaport is 4.6 billion dollars but the first phase of it is 2.016 billion dollars which was approved on Wednesday Dec. 16 by the Federal Government.
‘’The structure of Ibom Deep Seaport is billed for 60/40 per cent that is, 60 per cent for the private sector and 40 per cent will go to the public sector. The port will increase the revenues of both the Federal Government and Akwa Ibom’’, the commissioner said.
The mega project covers two local government areas of Mbo and Ibeno found in the coastal areas of the state. Okon is however, insisting that the Udom administration will ensure that Akwa Ibom youths are given opportunities to be gainfully engaged at the seaport
“The government is interested in ensuring that young men, and women who are brilliant, are given opportunities to excel. Ibom Deep Seaport will unlock the hidden potentials of Akwa Ibom”, he said, stating further that efforts are being made by the state government to ensure that people are trained in relevant areas, so as to enhance their employability at the port when it is operational.
He has accordingly, advised Akwa Ibom people to also position themselves to take full advantage of the project, by obtaining requisite training and further noted that Governor Udom Emmanuel remained committed in his bid to open the state.
While lauding them for their efforts in societal development, Akan Okon advised journalist to discharge their duties professionally, and urged them to avoid churning out reports that were capable of scaring potential investors away from the state.
While also calling for peace from indigenes and residents, the commissioner said his support, loyalty and steadfastness with the current administration was undivided, stressing that the governor will leave the state better than he met it.
Describing the project as well received by the people, he said nobody will want it abandoned given its business and lauded the state government for its achievement in the power sector as well.