The long-awaited Ibom Deep Sea Port which final approval for construction was only given last week by the federal government is projected to generate 300,000 jobs even as it would gulp about $800 million from Akwa Ibom State government.
The amount is the 40% contribution by the state government while foreign partners would contribute the remaining 60% to raised the needed $2.016billion for the completion of the first page of the Ibom Deep Seaport and Industrial City.
The state commissioner for Economic Developement and Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr Akan Okon, who disclosed thin a chat with newsmen in Uyo, said to realise the 300,000 jobs target, more 3,500 companies are expected to be in operation in the seaport by the end of 2023.
“60% of the funding will come from core investors are Bollore ChinaPower Consortium who were the preffered bidder. They are already managing 23 ports in Africa alone while we believe that their experience and connection will attract business and more investors to the seaport.” He said.
The port with its ancillary industrial city meant for heavy and large industries and sprawling across Mbo and Ibeno local councils of the state according to the commissioner would commence operation before the end of the present administration in 2023.
The possibility of such early projected operational date according to him was because the state government and the preffered bidder had already undertaken some technical aspects of the port developement before the approval last week
He maintained that despite the existence of other Seaports in the Niger Delta area, the natural depth of Ibom Deep Seaport would offer more benefits to businesses as it could serve as a clearing point for bigger vessels.
“The advantage of the Ibom Deap Seaport is in its natural location. For instance the Lagos Port in terms of draft after dredging is just about 12m, so very large vessels can’t come there. They have to wait at the high sea and need smaller vessels to bring cargo to port but with Ibom Seaport big vessels can come in even without delredging.
“It has a draft of 18m without dredging and has a turning basin of 600m and designed for vessels that can carry 120,000 Dead Weight Tonnage and will have 10 terminals.
“So it can actually allow for aother vessel to come in without waiting for the first vessel to be discharged. So it is actually wide. So it can allow one big vessel to go in and another one to come in at the same time because 600m is the size of six football fields.
“It is also desinged to be a trans shipping port. In other words goods meant for neighbouring African countries can be transhipped from here using smaller vessels.” He explained.
The commissioner added that the presence of the industrial city would boost business, attact more cargo to the seaport,add to the port capacity of the country and reduce the number of days for clearing.
“It will also be an additional source of revenue to the Federal Government and the Akwa Ibom State government. The impact of the port will not just be felt in the host communities but in sorrounding communities outside the host local councils.” He said.
Okon further stated that enough due diligence was undetaken before the approval to ensure success while the state government undertook several engagements with members of host communities.
Commenting on the project, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Ini Ememobong said the impact of Ibom Deep Seaport would go beyond Akwa Ibom, Nigeria and even to other African Countries because of its location.
He said the birth of Ibom Deep Seaport would also provide a natural solution to the aged-long problem of port congestion in Lagos.
“A lot of people from the east, and even the central part of Nigeria will come down here and it will reduce the traffic in Lagos and give Nigeria the capacity to increase their foreign trade and relations”. he said