The setting up of a Steering Committee by the Federal Ministry of Transportation to fast-track the establishment of the Benin River Port, a flagship project by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration, has been applauded by the business community in Edo State.
The port project is designed to exploit Edo’s locational advantage and strategic logistic edge in providing port services that would help decongest the Western ports.
A cross-section of players in the business space in Edo State, in chats with journalists, noted that the latest development is commendable as it complements the other steps taken by the state government to open the state up for investment.
The Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration has, in the last six years, progressed on the development of the port project, leading to the conduct of preliminary tests, dualisation of Ekenwan Road, which leads to the port facility, and the establishment of a Marine Police Base.
Meanwhile, the Director of Press and Public Relations in the Ministry of Transportation, Henshaw Ogubike said the Federal Government’s constitution of a steering committee for the proposed project was in furtherance of efforts to “decongest the Western ports as well as optimise the contributions of the maritime sector to the country’s economy.”
The terms of reference for the committee were to provide guidance and direction on the port project; facilitate necessary permits, clearance and approvals for the project, and present the transaction to the Federal Executive Council for approval.
In a chat, policy analyst and lecturer at the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Mr. Nosakhare Ikponmwosa stated that the project would transform the fortunes of the state and position it as an industrial and export hub.
According to him, “It is encouraging to learn that the Federal Government has commenced detailed work on the Benin River Port project. The new committee takes us all closer to the realisation of the port project.”
A trader, who is a member of an export cluster in the state, Mr. Ekpenede Solomon, noted that the project would boost productivity in Edo State and attract more investment to the state.
On his part, the Managing Director, Edo State Investment Promotion Office, Mr. Kelvin Uwaibi, said the state government welcomes the move and is even more ready to work with more partners and private investors to optimise the gains of the port project.
He added: “The Federal Government is now fast-tracking things and this is a clear sign to investors that we mean business. We are very much to attend to those who are looking to explore the opportunities that exist in the state.”