BY INNOCENT OROK
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has expressed willingness to partner with Ondo State Government on its Deep Sea Port project as an avenue for increased maritime activities to support economic growth.
Adams Jato, NPA’s General Manager in charge of Corporate and Strategic Communications disclosed this during an interaction with reporters on the sideline of a recent public hearing at the House of Representatives on why ports in the Eastern Eastern states are not put to maximal use.
Jato said the NPA has received communication from the Ondo State Government in respect of the Ondo Deep Seaport Project and that NPA will support efforts to boost national economic growth, job creation and investment opportunities through the establishment of new ports in the Country.
Speaking on Olokola Deep Seaport project, he said there are no submissions to NPA on it for now, either from Ondo or Ogun State Government.
“Ondo State Government has written to us on its Ondo Deep Seaport project and we are willing to partner with them on it.
” There are two ports project being talked about there, one is Ondo Deep Seaport while the other is Olokola Deep Seaport project. For the second one in Olokola which is to be jointly owned by Ondo and Ogun States, no communication has been received for now.
NPA told an Ad-hoc committee of House of Representative that its recent ten percent tariff reduction, corporate social responsibility activities and development of port infrastructures at fairway buoys and berthing areas were aimed at increasing traffic
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State had earlier in the year received a feasibility report on the project from a private firm contracted to work on it
Managing Director of MTBS Netherlands, Mr. Chime Asonye, accompanied by the firm’s project leader, Mr. Willem Slenderbroek, presented the feasibility report to the governor.
Akeredolu while receiving the report said “We are doing things for generation to come. I have always believed that there should be a beginning, and as we have started, there is no going back. In the number of years that we will be here, the government would pursue the port.
“I was privileged to travel with President Muhammadu Buhari to The Netherlands. We went on a boat and visited the ports, immediately I told him, if anything like this must happen in Nigeria, it must be in Ondo State.”
He added that besides that, the president had said it several times that he knew that Ondo would be the right place for a Deep Sea port.
Akeredolu said: “We should not play politics with everything. It’s not our making, but providence has put us where we are today, which is near water, and the best place to have a Deep Sea Port,”
He further explained that his administration’s dream for the port is to serve as a conduit for goods from across Nigeria, and not only in Ondo State.
The governor added that the state was only meant to prepare the ground, and do the feasibility and bankability of the port for the Federal Government.
He explained that Ondo alone couldn’t build the port, adding that there are many people who are willing to invest in it.
He listed the prospective investors to include “the Chinese, Dutch and others, because it would be a West Africa port, and not just for the Country.
It could be recalled that the Federal Government in its port reforms carried out few years ago in its bid to open up business had championed the construction of Green Field ports- Deep Seaports in the Country.
Deep Seaports like Badagry and Lekki Deep Seaport both in Lagos State Ibom Deep Seaport in Akwa Ibom State, Olokola Deep Seaport in Ondo State among others were penciled down for construction.