Indications are rife that the Federal Government might not grant approval for all the planned deep Seaports that are being built across the length and breadth of the Southern part of the country due to the financial strain that is currently telling on the nation’s economy. This is even as experts have called for the consolidation of the nation’s resources in the building of just one deep seaport.
Speaking to the Nigerian Tribune exclusively, a source close to the Federal Ministry of Transport who declined not to have his name in print as he is not authorised to speak explained that not all the deep seaports will get approval for take-off after all.
According to him, “there are deep seaports being built in Lagos, Akwa Ibom, and Cross River States, but government is looking at focusing on just one for now. Others might not get approval after all.
“With the State of the nation’s economy, the government is looking at consolidating resources in one deep seaport for now. The others will just have to wait and pray the economy picks up, before they can be granted approval,”
When reminded that some of the deep seaports are Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) arrangement, he explained that government still has a role to play financially.
“Yes some are PPP based deep seaports, but the public angle will be government driven. That will attract commitment in terms of financial obligations. We all know what the economy is saying right now.
“The economy is down and government cannot afford to be putting its hands in so many things at the same time right now.
“Both the Akwa-Ibom State government and the Lagos State government are building deep seaports in Ibaka and Badagry respectively. Meanwhile, the Lekki deep seaport is there, all on-going at the same time. Government will only grant approval for one because there is need to concentrate efforts in one area,” he explained.
A former Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) who also doubles as a Master Mariner, Capt Adamu Biu had advised government during the World Maritime Day 2016 celebration that efforts should be geared towards just one deep seaport.
In the words of Adamu Biu, “I strongly advise that we get only one deep seaport off now because of current economic situation and even if we have private participation coming up for all these deep seaports, we know that the terms will keep changing,”