-By Aniekan James Ekah
The Honorable Commissioner for Special Duties in Akwa Ibom State Engr. Etido Inyang FNSE has stated that 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.
The Commissioner made this known in chat with the Press recently in Uyo. He decried the spate of sponsored negative narratives peddled by some media across the state regarding the project and encouraged the Akwa Ibom people to continue giving their unalloyed support to the Udom Emmanuel-led administration as 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 to 14,400 hectares during Akpabio’s administration to accommodate the Ibom Deep Seaport, export processing zones, 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. He added that 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 advised Akwaibomites to ignore these narratives spun by detractors and assured that the government is committed to delivering its promises to the people especially by making sure the Ibom Deep Seaport become a reality as soon as possible.
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 governor of Akwa Ibom State Senator Godswill Akpabio ended his tenure with a milestone being the approval of the initial business case for Ibom Deep Seaport by former the then President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Ibom Deep Seaport remains a top-priority of the current administration. This is why the Technical Committee on Ibom Deep Seaport was the first to be inaugurated in Udom Emmanuel’s administration. The Committee, chaired by a former MD of NIMASA, Mrs Mfon Usoro (SAN), was 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!
According to the Commissioner, the speed at which Ibom Deep Seaport has attained, “we are the fastest-developing seaport in Nigeria even if we have not started construction”. He also hinted that 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.
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.
The Commissioner ended with an assurance that by the end of 2018, a good amount of work will be done at the site of the Ibom Deep Seaport. He further advised the Akwa Ibom business community to key into the vision of the present administration and re-position themselves for better days ahead.
The Ibom Industrial City is an industrial mix of oil and gas-based support services, housing dockyard, watercraft repair facilities, fertilizer plant, oil refinery and gas to liquid projects. Others are petrochemical industries, power plant, deep seaport, schools, hospitals, shopping malls, hotels, warehousing, logistics, housing estates, governmental services plus others.
When fully operational, Ibom Industrial City will create employment, increase the export base of the state, put the state on the oil and gas map of the world. And Ibom Deep Seaport, the deepest seaport in Nigeria, would open up the state as one of the gateways to the world.