By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade has explained the reason why his administration is interested in the business angle of the Bakassi deep seaport.
This is contrary to the notion that; “government has no business in doing business,” held by many.
But, Mr. Ayade while receiving the concept design of the port; one of the signature projects of his administration from a Chinese firm, China Harbour Engineering Company explained that the company is a testament to the fact that government can do business.
“The Chinese Harbour where government is fully involved in running its businesses has become very evident that, that is the way forward which is why our government and indeed the people of Cross River State are focused on creating an alternative income by decoupling ourselves from over dependence on federal government allocation. It is against that background, that the Bakassi deep seaport with an evacuation corridor is done,” Ayade said.
He hinted that the state plans a situation where all Cross Riverians can be quity owners.
“We will soon be going for initial public placement, where we will be asking for subscriptions when we go through the security and exchange commission to allow every Cross Riverian to be equity owner of this Bakassi deep seaport according to their carrying capacity,” said Ayade.
The delegation from the Chinese firm led by the Managing Director, Mr. Jason Wang had earlier carried out a 3-D presentation with Mr. Ayade announcing that it was a significant milestone towards the actual commencement of construction work now slated for the dry season.
“The port is viable, the characteristics are hydraulics and all the studies, even the barometric and geotechnical is completed, design complex is finalized and once government gives approval, all the detailed designs will be ready in no distant time and construction will start on the onset of the next dry season,” the governor said and highlighted some of the special features of the port to include; “its access to a wide amalgam of great opportunity via the 275 kilometers evacuation corridor.”
Ayade who sued for patience from residents also averred that: “Obviously, this special deep seaport has its own privileges. The key privilege is that it has a huge potential for our bank cargo which is lacking in other ports in Africa today. The huge vast agricultural land mass of over 231,000 square kilometers allows for massive cultivation and export of cash crops, including agricultural products and produce thereby becoming very clear that it is going to be vital.”
Explaining further, he said: “The massive deposit of solid minerals in the northern part of Nigeria which has remained landlocked and unexploited occasioned by the difficulty of getting into a maritime corridor will be resolved with this project.
“This project naturally means that the government and people of Cross River State are taking their Atlantic coast to northern Nigerian by taking the Atlantic Ocean 275 kilometers into the hinterland of Nigeria, bringing it to the very corridor of Nassarawa State.”
While lauding the Chinese firm for delivering on a world class design for the project Ayade averred that, “working closely with China Harbour, we have come to the understanding that they are a great team, a perfect team, a world class, number one company in harbor designs and construction, currently handling similar projects in Nigeria and some parts of Africa.
“As a leading construction company when it comes to harbour designs and construction, Cross River State is therefore bringing to you the very best to deliver on this life changing project that will transform the economic landscape of the state as we commence construction of the first phase of the project.”
Earlier, Mr. Wang who described the port as very viable, given its location promised to deploy their expertise to Calabar to deliver on the project.
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