Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has assured the people of the state that work on the Gelegele Seaport is in progress as there is sufficient economic justification for its development.
Speaking to journalists on the socio-economic gains of the planned seaport, Obaseki explained that the project would serve as an agro-processing zone and will be driven by the state government and the private sector.
Reacting to the rejection of a motion on the establishment of the seaport, sponsored by Honourable Ehiozuwa Johnson Agbonayinma in the House of Representatives, Obaseki said Gelegele seaport will serve as an export processing zone, noting that the appropriate agencies are already being consulted.
“For me, I don’t understand what was being attempted or what the issues are at the House of Representatives. We never designed a Port that requires such a motion to be moved on the floor of the National Assembly. I must add that we are ready to work with all organs of government to realise this project as it will impact greatly on the economy of the state and region,” the governor said.
He explained that the seaport will be located where there is enough gas that can be used to generate electricity and power industries.
“There is sufficient economic justification for the Gelegele port and we will raise funds from the private sector to develop the facility. We do not believe that the federal government will stop or discourage Edo State from building a Port that is economically viable,” he added.
Obaseki said the seaport is on course as his administration is talking to consultants who are currently working on the designs and conducting studies on water depth, the width of the river and the amount of dredging needed.
He assured Edo people that a lot was being done to make the project a reality within the shortest and realistic time possible.
Recently, the governor received the technical report on the proposed Gelegele Seaport, which is envisioned to serve as a key artery for the state’s economic diversification efforts.
The governor received the report from the Technical Committee on the actualisation of the Gelegele Sea Port, led by its chairman, Greg Ero.
Obaseki had commended the committee for a job well done and noted that the project was a critical infrastructure in the state.
He stressed the role of water transportation as a major driver of economic activity, noting that moving goods through the waterways remain one of the fastest means to grow the economy.
According to him, the Gelegele Seaport is essential in view of the incoming investment to the state, as the setting up of a sea port will enhance the evacuation of agricultural produce in a cost-efficient manner to both the local and global markets.
He said the move to establish the port is apt and in line with the federal government’s economic recovery plan, which stipulates that states develop economic plans that will stimulate exportation.
“We have travelled to various countries, especially Asia, to attract investment that will revamp our competitive advantage in oil palm and rubber. Edo State is a logistic hub for this country. From here, goods can be efficiently moved to various states and distributed across the country.” Noting that the state government would ensure that the report guides the implementation of the project, he said: “As a government, we want to assure you that the report is critical. We will immediately commence work on the recommendation and seek expert impute in building an infrastructure of this magnitude.”
The chairman of the committee, Ero said his team worked on the terms of reference it was given to prepare a report on the port that would open Edo up to the world, adding, “We visited Gelegele community, relevant offices and locations. We gathered information and data from various sources, including reports on previous assignment commissioned by the Federal Government on Gelegele.” Ero said the committee took a holistic view of the project and addressed in great details, the location of seaport, sea route to the Atlantic Ocean, and critical issues of port viability required to pass a business case test.