‘Bakassi deep seaport to gulp $2 billion’
The Cross River State Bakassi Deep Sea Port will now gulp about $2 billion (about N730 billion) following the official approval of the Outline Business Case (OBC) for the project.
Before now, the state government had put the cost of both the deep seaport and superhighway at about N700 billion.But briefing some journalists at the weekend in Calabar on their mandate and performance so far, Chairman of the State’s Debt Review and Projects Development Commission, Chief Chris Agara; Vice Chairman, Chief Higgins Peters and Secretary, Etubom Bassey Eyo-Ndem, said the commission, set up by Governor Ben Ayade, would determine the debt portfolio of the state from 1999 to date, the projects that the state is embarking on, the assets that the state has, their viability, profitability and others.
Agara, who debunked allegations that all Ayade’s projects are shrouded in secrecy and cult control, said: “I want to debunk that claim that there is a cult. If there was a cult, they would not have set up a commission like ours, which is a public commission where anybody is free to come and ask questions like you are asking now. One thing I will make you understand is that for the deep seaport, nobody within the state has any right to start any activity prior to the issuance of this OBC because this is the authority for you to commence any form of activity.
“After getting this now, the authority, the power, energy to commence activities in that port starts now, but even at that, we make sure we have the right people like the concessioner who will help us develop the port.
This port is going to cost about $1.7 to $2 billion to develop, just the port alone and the state does not have that kind of money but with what we have done now, we will get people who will come to invest because they know the viability of having this port here.”He said that the OBC was necessary because “ports are owned by the Federal Government, no matter where the port is located. So, if the Federal Government does not give you the right of way, the permission to develop port, you cannot do it. So, with this outright business case, the world should know that the Federal Government has accessed the Bakassi deep seaport and had found it worthy and good enough for development.”
Peters, on his part, said: “We have interest from all over the world and to gladden your heart as Cross Riverians, I can tell you on behalf of the chairman that we will announce to you that African Development Bank has promised to give Cross River State a sovereign guarantee to cover deep seaport and superhighway which is the major land mark.
“It doesn’t matter if the projects are completed within the lifespan of this administration, the point is that everybody knows that it is Ayade’s signature project and now we are believing that there is money to fund the projects. It is not for the good of Ayade, it is for the good of Cross River. So, these projects will be completed.”
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