In a swift reaction to the alleged probe of the multi-million Naira Ibaka Deep Seaport Project by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Special Duties, Engr. Etido Inyang, who was a key facilitator of the project as Special Adviser on Technical Matters to former Governor Godswill Akpabio, has come out to say “Governor Udom Emmanuel will remain focused and undeterred in his quest to industrialize Akwa Ibom State. He has also reiterated the present administration’s resolve to make Ibom Industrial City a reality as soon as possible.”
In a media parley with newsmen in Uyo recently, Engr. Inyang decried the spate of sponsored negative narratives peddled by some media across the state regarding the project and appealed to the people of the state not to be weary in their support to the Udom Emmanuel-led administration, adding that it has a lot in stock in terms of human and capacity development for the state.
The site for Ibom Industrial City according to the Commissioner was expanded from 5000 to 14,400 hectares during Akpabio’s administration to accommodate the Ibom Deep Seaport, Export Processing Zones (EPZ), Gas Processing Zones, Industrial and Commercial Ports, Residential Areas and Commercial Zones.
“So far, the state government has acquired a license for a free trade zone which is part of the building blocks for an industrial city. The survey plan and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been carried out together with the bio-metric survey, perimeter survey, topography survey, aerial surveys, wave studies, and other parameters needed to give way for the next phase of the project. Worthy of mention is the plan carried out by the government to relocate residents around the site of this project to a more comfortable location.”
The Commissioner, however, debunked the claims that outrageous sums of money have been siphoned through this project and the claims that construction has commenced at the site of the Ibom Industrial City.
He urged the people of the state to ignore speculations by detractors and assured that the government is committed to delivering its promises to the people especially in making sure the Ibom Deep Seaport becomes a reality as soon as possible.
According to Engr. Inyang, “The initial and full business cases are the two major trenches to be considered before the construction of a deep seaport. The initial business case consists of table studies, biometric studies, seabed survey, wave studies, and location of the seaport and the development of a concept for the construction of the deep seaport. The former State Governor, Senator Godswill Akpabio, ended his tenure with a milestone being the approval of the initial business case for Ibom Deep Seaport by the then President Goodluck Jonathan.”
“Ibom Deep Seaport remains a top-priority of the current administration. This is why the Technical Committee on the Realization of the Ibom Deep Seaport was the first to be inaugurated by the present administration. The Committee, Chaired by a former Managing Director of NIMASA, Mrs. Mfon Usoro (SAN), is saddled with a responsibility to fast-track the process of the development of the port and also to produce a transaction adviser that will take the project to the final business case.”
“Top on the Committee’s list of achievements is the engagement of PricewaterhouseCoopers as consultants for Ibom Industrial City. Meeting a wide array of requirements, the Global Maritime and Port Services Pte Ltd (GMaps) – a world-acclaimed engineering firm for the development of seaport was picked as developers and Dal-Andersan as transaction advisers for the development of the Ibom Industrial City. GMaps will develop a final business case to attract investors to port. With abundant gas within the location, Ibom Industrial City is built to be viable”
In explaining the speed so far attained, Engr. Inyang said “We are the fastest-developing seaport in Nigeria even if we have not started construction. By the end of 2016, GMaps will finish the final business case on the deep seaport while Dal-Andersan will finish its consultancy services for the establishment of the industrial city. This will end with operators going into the final business case which is the financial closure and initial construction of the deep seaport.”
The Commissioner who tactically refused to state the amount sung into the project so far, said “Akwa Ibom State Government spent some considerable amount of money on consultancy for this project. With a financial model of 60% equity for private investors, 20% for the state government and 20% for the federal government, no money is lost as monies spent will be accrued to the state government’s equity. I have every assurance that by the end of 2018, a good amount of work will be done at the site of the Ibom Deep Seaport. So, I advise the Akwa Ibom business community to key into the vision of the present administration and re-position themselves for better days ahead.”