Onitsha River Port to earn N23bn in 30 years – Saraki

Gbemisola Saraki, the minister of state for transportation, has said that the Onitsha River port is positioned to generate over N23 billion for the Federal Government in 30 years.

Saraki, who disclosed this during the signing of the concession of the port recently in Abuja, said the port had lots of economic benefits to the country.

“So, there is a lot of economic growth, there would be the creation of wealth, jobs, security, and greater development. We hope it is a catalyst for other river ports so that it will decongest other ports and bring about growth. You know the traffic on our roads, the state of our roads and the tankers and freight being moved on our roads will now reduce. We are exceptionally proud that at long last we have achieved this,” she said.

The minister however said the river ports in Baro, Lokoja and Oguta, which are at different stages of completion, will be considered for concessioning after the Onitsha port and there is already expression of interest from potential investors.

George Moghalu, the managing director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), said the Onitsha port would reduce the volume of cargoes transported via roads to the south-east.

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“Our roads are not designed to carry the weight they are carrying. Over 60 percent of the containers that come into Nigeria through Onne, Tin-Can and Apapa port end up in Onitsha and what it translates is that these containers are moved by trailers. Onitsha Port is very well positioned to play a key role in addressing this if opportunities are provided,” he said.

Moghalu expressed hope that the concession would open up opportunities for other ports in the country to be given due considerations.

Michael Ohiani, the acting director-general, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), also said that the 30-year concession would generate over N23 billion to the government.

“After rigorous procurement process, Universal Elysium Consortium emerged as the preferred concessionaire for Onitsha River Port. Over the 30-year concession period, the concessionaire will be responsible for all the activities and maintenance of the port. The asset along with the entire infrastructure will be returned to the authorities at the end of the concession period. The redevelopment of Onitsha river port is seen as a boost to commercial activities in the south-east,” Ohiani said.

Ohiani added that importers and traders from the commercial towns of Onitsha, Nnewi, Aba and Ogbete-Enugu see the re-launch as a welcome development because the port will serve as an alternative mode of transporting goods from Lagos and Port Harcourt.

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