President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday gave the clearest indication of his support for the Bakassi Deep Seaport Project of the Cross River State Government with the issuance of Outline Business Case certificate for the project by the Federal Government.
The certificate was presented on behalf of the Federal Government by the Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi to the Cross River State Governor, Sir Ben Ayade at the ministry’s Abuja office.
Amaechi stated that with the OBC, the state would move on to the next step of action.
He said: “What they (Cross River) have got right now is the OBC. We will take the next move to verify all the necessary instruments that we need and then proceed back to the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission for the FBC before we go to the cabinet for approval.
“But the most important thing is that we are speeding it up so as to enable those states who want to invest in seaports and others to go ahead and do so.”
On whether the Federal Government was partnering Cross River State in the deep seaport, Amaechi said, “We will get to that. We will sit down with the Cross River State Government and their major partners and see how much NPA would want to invest. We will contact NPA and see what it can do.”
Speaking on the development , Ayade said the certificate would enable the state move on to the next level of implementation of the seaport.
His words: “The certificate is an Outline Business Case. It shows that there is a full densification commitment of the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Transportation to say yes we have come to recognise and accept that Cross River State Government should go ahead with the Full Business Case towards the construction of a deep seaport.
“And the emphasis on the deep seaport is agro-industrial, not exclusively, but to show that the core target is to do an agro-industrial transformation of Nigeria. It will be the major leading port in that respect but will have other industrial parks.”
He said the issuance of the OBC by the Federal Government through its Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission was the fastest ever recorded in Nigeria.
On when actual construction would commence at the seaport, Ayade said, “Work started there more than six months ago when we got the EIA approval which allowed us the legal right to get access to the ocean.
“But right now with this OBC certificate, we are going to be dealing directly with the concessionaires towards arriving at the specific location, data and commencement of actual work plans. But that can only come with the FBC.”