Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, Minister of State for Transportation, claims that the Onitsha river port will generate more than N23 billion for the federal government over the next 30 years.
Saraki stated that the port would provide numerous economic benefits to the country during the signing of the concession agreement on Thursday in Abuja.
According to her, the port will, among other things, ensure that 60% of ships currently passing through Onne port to Onitsha are transported directly.
“There will be a lot of economic growth, wealth creation, job creation, security, and greater development.”
“We hope it catalyzes other river ports, allowing them to decongest and grow.”
“You are aware that traffic on our roads, as well as the state of our roads and the tankers and freight being moved on our roads, have now decreased.”
“And so it is a very good thing, and we are extremely proud that we have finally accomplished this.”
“It’s being signed, and we’re looking forward to seeing the growth there,” Saraki said.
The minister stated that the Baro, Lokoja, and Oguta ports, which are all in various stages of completion, will be considered after the Onitsha port.
“The most important thing is that we already have potential investors interested in taking over this.”
Dr. George Moghalu, Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), stated that the Onitsha port would reduce the volume of cargo transported by road to the South East.
“Our roads are not designed to carry the kind of weight they are carrying,” Moghalu said.
“Over 60% of the containers that arrive in Nigeria via Onne, Tin Can, or Apapa ports end up in Onitsha, and these containers are moved by trailers.”
“If opportunities are provided, Onitsha port is very well positioned to play a key role in addressing this.”
He praised the concessionaires for the efforts they were already making to attract investors to the country.
Moghalu also expressed hope that the agreement would pave the way for other ports in the country to be given due consideration.
Meanwhile, Mr. Michael Ohiani, Acting Director-General of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), reiterated that the 30-year concession would generate over N23 billion for the government.
“Universal Elysium Consortium emerged as the preferred concessionaire for the concession of the Onitsha River Port after a rigorous procurement process,” he said.
“Throughout the 30-year concession period, the concessionaire will be responsible for all port activities and maintenance.”
“At the end of the concession period, the asset, as well as the entire infrastructure, will be returned to the authorities.”
“The redevelopment of the Onitsha River Port is expected to boost commercial activity in the South East.”
“Importers and traders from the commercial towns of Onitsha, Nnewi, Aba, and Ogbete-Enugu welcome the Federal Government’s relaunch.”
“The port will serve as an alternative mode of transporting goods by road between Lagos and Port Harcourt.”