Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has restated the total commitment of his administration to the provision of enabling economic environment that will turn Abia State into a choice investment destination in Nigeria.
Ikpeazu made this remark this night at the Governor’s Lodge Abuja while receiving in audience the Federal Government Concessionaire for the Dry Port Project at Ntigha, Isiala Ngwa North LGA of Abia State, EASTGATE DRY PORT PROJECTS LIMITED.
The CEO of EASTGATE, Bill Nkemdirim came to the Governor to formally introduce to him the company that will handle the actual construction of the project, Messers China Tianchen Engineering Corporation and to further inform him that every arrangement for the construction works have been concluded and that they are ready to start work at the site.
Governor Ikpeazu expressed deep delight at this development and assured them that his government will provide every necessary support to ensure that their work is seamless. He stated that the Dry Port Project will be a powerful catalyst to the economic development of the state and indeed, the entire South East region. He noted that upon completion, businessmen who engage in Import and Export will not have to go beyond the state to enjoy port services as containers to and from the region will now be discharged at the port, for onward movement to their final destinations.
Apart from the direct impact on businesses, Ikpeazu added that the location of the dry port will catalyze the growth and development of indirect businesses around the area in addition to the provision of jobs. He added that the coming of the Enyimba Economic City will combine with the Dry Port to positively turn around the economy of the State and the South East region permanently.
Stressing the importance of inter-modality in Ports operations, Ikpeazu challenged the operator to construct a 3km rail line from the project site at Ntigha to link Nbawsi which is a major railway stop, so as to link the Port to other parts of the country.
Earlier, the CEO of EASTGATE DRY PORT PROJECTS LTD, Bill Nkemdirim informed the Governor that they were fully prepared to commence construction and they are pleased to have engaged a world class organization, CHINA TIANCHEN ENGINEERING CORPORATION for the project.
Founded in 1953, China Tianchen is one of the leading international engineering corporations in the world providing engineering consulting, design, procurement, construction management and commission supervision. The company has successfully commissioned thousands of projects within China and in over thirty countries cutting across Asia, America, Africa, Europe, etc.
Mr. Nkemdirim told the Governor that the Dry Port Project is being undertaken under a BOOT- Build, Own, Operate and Transfer arrangement for a period of thirty years. He said that the Federal Government awarded the contract to his company on account of his established track record and experience in managing port operations. He added that the project will turn around the economic fortunes of the state and the entire South East region as it will be the first Dry Port in the region.
He said that the construction period is expected to be 24 months and thanked Governor Ikpeazu for going the extra mile to make this project a reality. According to him, this project has been on the drawing board for close to 15 years now but that the personal style of Governor Ikpeazu gave the project the push that has brought it to this critical stage and assured that they will deliver the project within schedule.
The delegation will depart for Abia State tomorrow to enable the Chinese Team visit the project site for pre construction preliminary evaluation.