March 10, 2022
Edo Govt. delegation visits ICRC, targets own Agro-based River Port
Representatives from the Edo State Government on Wednesday, paid an introductory visit to the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC).
The visit was to intimate the Commission on the plans by the state government to finalise and submit an Outline Business Case (OBC) for the establishment of an Agro-based River Port in the state.
The delegation, led by Mr. Greg Ogbeifun, Chairman of the Committee on the proposed ‘Benin City River Port’ (BRP), was received by the ICRC team led by Acting General.
Ogbeifun said that the team was at the Commission to seek the guidance of the ICRC on the project.
“The main purpose of our coming here in this introductory visit today is to get your support, assistance and direction on how we will proceed from here,” he said.
Giving an insight into the proposed Benin City River Port, the Project Director Dr. Joe Aigboduwa said that the project was proposed as an Agro port that will sit on 700 hectares of land.
According to him, the port will be positioned to be the closest port to the Lekki Deep Sea port and also close to the Dangote Refinery.
He said that it will seek to solve some of the challenges witnessed in exporting agricultural products as the port would also provide processing and packaging services for agricultural products.
“It is going to be an agro-based port, encompassing a port community. We have learnt from all the mistakes of all the other ports in Nigeria so we are developing a unique port.”
“This will take care of the Agricultural sector in Nigeria,” he said.
He explained that currently, the process of exporting agricultural produce was to aggregate the produce and take to warehouses and load on to ships for exports.
He recalled the times that Nigeria had been embarrassed when its exported agricultural produce were rejected by the countries they were exported to for lack of proper preservation and processing.
“BRP is out to solve that challenge because we have identified value creation. So after receiving the produce, we take it into the BRP industrial park where we will do deconsolidation, value addition and packaging before it is ready for export”.
“We have been able to identify that if the port were to be functional today it would have at least 1.3 million metric tonnes export throughputs and 2.1 million metric tonnes of import throughputs”.
“We have so many potentials to be exploited and developed. Our targeted potentials for export are cashew, sorghum, cotton – all these things we are doing in arable form can be industrialised and take Nigeria to greater heights”.
“We have been meeting with the producers and they are looking forward to this port coming on board,” he said.
He hinted that the Port will also serve as a port for importation of vehicles, pointing out that from a base case scenario, an optimistic scenario and a pessimistic scenario, the port had proven that it would be a profitable venture.
He stressed that the port will also serve as a buffer for the Lekki Deep sea port as the Lagos port was already too congested to be utilized.
A breakdown of the structure he said include: housing area for security and for staff, a 20-hectare trailer park and a processing industry for agricultural goods and other products as well as a container and multipurpose terminals.
He informed the ICRC that the project will require a Public Private Partnership (PPP) funding mechanism and as such the Edo state government was finalising the Outline Business Case for onward submission to the Commission.
However, the Acting Director General of ICRC, Michael Ohiani informed the delegation that there were key processes that must be followed for such a project to be feasible.
“We cannot receive OBC from you, it has to come from the Federal Ministry of Transportation because this project is on the exclusive legislative list”.
“If you are doing a project of this nature, you also have to take into consideration the risks and how you are going to mitigate it, especially taking into consideration your competitors,” he said.
Ohiani pointed the delegation to the existence of other similar agro ports across Nigeria, adding that an agro-based deep sea port had already been developed for Ondo state and the ICRC was awaiting the OBC for it.
The Ag. DG and his team raised concerns about the proposed mode of transporting goods to and from the port, stressing the need for rail transport which also emphasizes the importance of the Federal Ministry of Transportation’s involvement in the project. END
Ag. Head, Media and Publicity