Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel has inaugurated a 10-member Technical Committee on the actualisation of Ibom Deep Seaport, with an assignment to pilot the process for the actualization of the project on or before December 31, 2018.
Speaking on Thursday, after the inauguration of the committee, Emmanuel mandated the members to draw up a road map in collaboration with other stakeholders for the next project phase.
He also asked the committee to review the Outline Business Case (OBC) and other relevant documents to guide in the timely delivery of the project and to ensure compliance with the ICRC Act, 2005 and the National Policy on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in the overall project implementation.
“Ibaka Deep Seaport is an audacious attempt to re-write the maritime story of Akwa Ibom State. It holds the promise of an industrial revolution of our State. It holds the promise of the industrialization of Akwa Ibom. It holds the promise of the creation of over 100,000 jobs. It holds the promise of a self-sustaining commercial city with oil and gas support services. It holds the promise of our finally tapping into our awesome and largely untapped maritime potentials,” Governor Emmanuel said.
“It is a seed of greatness which when we plant it, and it germinates, it shall provide economic and social shelter for millions of Akwa Ibom people. It is a project with multiple benefits to our state, our nation and our sub-region. It encapsulates the dream of this administration for the industrial rebirth of Akwa Ibom State. And the industrialization of this State is an article of faith with my administration.”
Speaking further, Emmanuel noted that “The list of countries that trace their roots of rapid industrialization to seaports is endless. Foreign Direct Investments flows ceaselessly in Malaysia because of its freight business. Port Klang alone has trade links with over 180 countries, and more than 500 ports. With this, there is no way their economy will fail to thrive. Even the economy of the United States of America is also largely dependent on its waterborne trade.
“More than 13.3 million Americans work in port-related jobs that generate nearly 650 billion Dollars in annual personal income and 212.4 billion Dollars in federal, state and local taxes. In Florida specifically, sea ports generate more than 550,000 direct and indirect jobs. The story is not different in Singapore and other Asian Tigers. It can also be our story. This is our dream and vision for our State. Together, we can get there. The climb might be steep. But I have never been more hopeful than I am today that we will get there through your significant contribution at this stage of our administration,” he noted.
He congratulated the members of the committee on their appointment, saying “The success or failure of this enterprise, therefore, will not depend on their heads, but on their hearts. If they come to work with the right attitude, the right mind-set and the right passion, they will succeed. When they succeed, we succeed as a people. Therefore, we urge them not to rest on their oars and treat this task as a stroll in the park. They must keep it in their hearts that to whom much is given much is expected. We expect much from them – in fact Akwa Ibom expects them to draw water from stones.
“With so much at stake, we took the greatest care to select men and women who have the strongest set of skills to turn this dream into a reality. The Chairman of this Technical Committee for the Realization of Ibom Deep Seaport, She has the expertise, skills and experience needed for this task. The other members of the Committee are all men and women who have reached the zenith of their professions, and have competences needed for the task ahead. We are proud of all of them,” he added.
The committee has Barr. (Mrs.) Mfon Usoro, a former Director General of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency as Chairman while Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, Mr. Chidi Izuwah, Mr. Idongesit Udofa, Engr. Ekong Umo-Otong, Rear Admiral Francis Akpan, Barr. Aniekan Ukpanah, Mr. Charles Udonwah, Mrs. Akon Eyakenyi and Engr. Etido Inyang are members.
The committee is to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Transport, Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), and Ministerial Project Development Steering Committee (MPDSC) in all procurement processes in line with the Public Procurement Act 2007; evaluate Technical reports from the Transaction Adviser (TA) & Operator and ensure implementation.
Other terms of reference are to work with the host communities in resolving issues incidental to the realization of the Deep Seaport Project, commence discussion with various investors on the Ibom Industrial City Projects and to submit regular Project Progress reports to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State.