By Chris Chimezie
The proposed Port of Ondo would serve as a West African Port, which would change the landscape of the state when completed.
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu made this known during the submission of a feasibility report on the Port of Ondo Deep Sea, held at the International Culture and Event Centre (The Dome) in Akure, yesterday.
He explained that the Port of Ondo was the only valuable deep seaport Nigeria could have as one of the states with the deepest coastlines.
“I assure you, we will have the Port declaration before the end of the year. The report has established its viability and bankability
“Our dream for this port in Ondo State is to serve as a conduit for our goods, agricultural produce and very soon, our Bitumen.
“It is the goal of this administration to ensure that the potentials of the State is maximized and that all necessary infrastructure required to make this a reality is put in place to achieve this,” he said.
The governor further said his administration would pursue the Port relentlessly, for the future generation and not for the present times.
“There must be a beginning. We have started and no going back. The goal is clear, we will capitalize and maximise on the coastline which is the deepest in Nigeria,” he said.
Akeredolu listed some of the benefits of the Port to include opening of the State to the world and access to the hinterland of Nigeria and significant employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths in the state.
Others, according to the Governor are acquisition of new skills for the labour force while government will benefit from project sharing with the conccesionaries as well as increased IGR.
Akeredolu also mentioned infrastructural development as part of the advantages, adding that it will complement the state’s Free Trade Zone, thereby facilitating global transit of goods and equipment in and out of Ondo State.
Earlier, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of the Ondo State Development and Investment Promotion Agency (ONDIPA), Mr Boye Oyewumi said it was formally launched in October 2017.
He explained that the agency was saddled with the responsibility of attracting investment opportunities into the state.
Oyewunmi further said it was investor friendly, responded promptly to requests of investors, and was also a one-shop on stop center for investment discussion.
“Some activities involved in the ast 15 months include tourist use of waterways, encouragement of sponsors’ participation and development plans on how to enhance the tourist attractions,” he said.
Also, Project Leader and Senior Expert, Maritime Transport and Business Studies (MTBS) in charge of the Port of Ondo Development, Mr Willem Slendebroek, said the proposed Port which is on artificial Island would create 20, 000 direct jobs.
He added that the proposed Port, when completed, would have multiplier effects of higher indirect job opportunities.
According to him, the Port would attract Free Trade Zone, Shipping of port activities, enhancement of community roads and provision of sufficient traffic and businesses to justify the Port development.
He pointed out that the underutilized mineral resource in the state would be explored, exploited and exported for foreign exchange which would also boost the economy of the state.
The event attracted dignitaries and top government functionaries who included Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Olugbenga Ale, member representing Ondo Central Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Sen Tayo Alasoadura, member representing Ilaje/Eseodo Federal Constituency, Hon Victor Akinjo, Olugbo of Ugbo, Oba Frederick Akinruntan, stakeholders and community leaders from the southern part of the state.