Wednesday , September 23 2020

OBASEKI AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF BENIN RIVER PORT IN EDO

In this economic recession, investments and job creation are what the economy of Edo state needs to sharpen its edges. Benin River Port is expected to achieve many things. It will bring shipping services and export free zone to the doorsteps of shippers in Edo State, Kogi, Ondo, Delta and other states. In its efforts to make transportation of goods easier and also create job opportunities for youths, the Edo state government has given assurances that it is committed to completing the Benin River Port.  It is important to note that this was conceived to facilitate efficient cargo delivering to Edo State, provide access to port services, stimulate Edo economic development, boost export of agricultural commodities, provide employment opportunities as well as increase revenue generation in Edo State.

Benin River Port was initiated by the Obaseki led administration in Edo State. Governor Obaseki recently awarded N6.8bn contract for dualisation of Ekehuan Road, drainage construction on Uwadiae street to facilitate the development of Benin River Port. To provide needed infrastructure to fast track the development of the Benin River project and accelerate sustainable development in the state, Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki has awarded a N6.8 billion contract for the dualisation of Ekehuan Road and construction of underground drainage system on Uwadiae Street.

The contract was awarded during a recent Executive Council (EXCO) meeting held before the governor proceeded on his annual leave. The project was awarded at a cost of N6,812955739.70. On completion, it will “enhance the state government’s desire to transform Benin into a modern City and serve as a booster to the development of the Benin River Port,” a document on the contract said.

The Benin River Port is one of the big-ticket projects of the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration in the state aimed to drive industrialisation and boost export earnings.

The port project, which is being developed in partnership with China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC), would serve as a conduit for products to be manufactured at the Benin Industrial and Enterprise Park; Benin Auto Park; Benin Production Centers and other industrial clusters across the state. Preliminary work on the project has been completed by the Chinese Company, even as the Federal Government has approved for a Marine Police Post at the site of the port project. It will also serve as a sister port to the Lekki Deep Sea Port being developed by CHEC.

The projects would reduce traffic logjam and curb flooding. The project follows closely behind the award of contracts for the construction of Textile Mill Road; Iyoba, Iyobanosa and Omozogie Streets; Benin-Abraka Road; St. Saviour, Oba-Obazagbon, PZ-Okabere Roads and Ugbor-Amagba Road, which was hailed by Benin City residents.

If you do not go to Lagos, your goods will be brought to Edo State. It means the cost of transportation will reduce. It means we are replicating the economy of Lagos in Edo State. There will be a lot of incidental issues, transportation, warehouses, factories, because these will be a gateway to export. Benin River Port will expand economic value chain and open up new business opportunities to the citizens of Edo State. Developing Benin River Port will improve the welfare of Edo people through appropriate social, political and economic conditions. The expected outcomes are quantitative and qualitative improvements in human capital (e.g. income and education levels) as well as physical capital such infrastructure (utilities, transport, telecommunications). While in the previous decades in Edo State, development policies and strategies tended to focus on physical capital, in the past seven years, it has seen a better balance by including human capital issues.

Irrespective of the relative importance of physical versus human capital, development cannot occur without both as infrastructure cannot remain effective without proper operations and maintenance while economic activities cannot take place without an infrastructure base. Because of its intensive use of infrastructure, the transport sector is an important component of the economy and a common tool used for development. This is even more so in a global economy where economic opportunities have been increasingly related to the mobility of people, goods and information. A relationship between the quantity and quality of transport infrastructure and the level of economic development is apparent. High density transport infrastructure and highly connected networks are commonly associated with high levels of development. When Benin River  transport system is efficient, it will provide economic and social opportunities and benefits that will result in positive multiplier effects such as better accessibility to markets, employment and additional investments.

At the aggregate level, efficient transportation reduces costs in many economic sectors, while inefficient transportation increases these costs. In addition, the effects of transportation are not always intended as it can have unforeseen or unintended consequences. For instance, congestion is often an unintended consequence in the provision of free or low cost transport infrastructure to users. However, congestion is also an indication of a growing economy where capacity and infrastructure have difficulties keeping up with the rising mobility demands. Transport carries an important social and environmental load, which cannot be neglected. Assessing the economic importance of transportation requires a categorization of the types of impacts it has. These involve core (the physical characteristics of transportation), operational and geographical dimensions: In his New Year broadcast to the people of the State, Governor Obaseki said that the development of Benin River as a port and industrial zone was of high priority to the government and people of Edo, adding that it will improve the state’s economic competitiveness. He explained that he had   met with the minister of transport and they plan to make the Benin sea port a container terminal so that economic activities will be improved in the state.He also said that the facility will also house an agro-industrial park that would increase exportation of agricultural produce from the state.

Benin River Port is a major Oil and Gas bearing/producing community in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State that hosted the Philip’s oil company limited subsidiary of Philip 66 of Texas, USA in 1963. The assets and liabilities of Philip Oil Company in OML 96 were divested to Dubri Oil Company in 1987. It has made Edo state one of the oil and gas producing states in Niger Delta.

A lot of activities that are very vital to the history of the ancient Benin kingdom are linked to Benin River Port. It is in history that the slave trade and trade in cocoa, cowries and other precious items with the Germans, Portuguese and later British were all done through this port as the major seaport in the region. Today, the famous Benin River Port seaport has been reduced to a mere waterside where only fishing by the local people takes place. Also, the Portuguese and British governments used the Benin River Port extensively for more than half a century before the 1897 infamous British punitive expedition. 

Benin River Port is a community situated in Ovia North East Local Government Are Of Edo State. Historically, it was through Benin River Port that the Europeans entered Benin City. The previous administration of President Jonathan approved the construction of a seaport in Benin in 2013. The construction of Benin River Port will provide employment to thousands of Edo indigenes and even non indigenes. The seaport will increase the Internal Generated Revenue of Edo state and boost the transportation of the largest deposits of Crude Oil recently discovered in Benin River. The dredging of Benin River Port ought to have been completed by now. 

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Donald, a public affairs analyst, writes  via inwalomhe.donald@yahoo.com

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About Kelvin Okereafor

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One comment

  1. I want to personally thank the Governor and his team for a job well done. Even though i am based in europe my recents trips to my home land and benin city per say has been one that has seen dramatic changes in and around the state in every aspect of development. But i want to greatly thank this administration for her fast track development in road contruction and the edo state transport system. I was amazed by what i saw in erediawa ( ugbekun qtrs) ikpoba-okha LG. my prayer is that the good people of Edo state will not sit back and watch some group of persons or political kabals with personal interest to forcefully bring to an end the good work and development we are enjoying now during the forth coming election as we have seen in the case of Lagos state. Lets stand and fight for what is right, lets join force to defend our state from people that are more concern about their bank account. lets work with this Gvernment so that we will see the completion of all projects and contracts that has been awarded. long live NIgeria, God bless Edo state, and long live the benin kingdom.

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