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On The Recent Concessioning of Onitsha River Port

After several years of delay, the federal government, on Thursday this week, concessioned the Onitsha River Port in Anambra State for N4 billion under a public private partnership (PPP) arrangement.

The deal will also see the FG earn N23 billion in the 30 years period of the concession.

The facility, which has been under concession discussion for over five years, was eventually concessioned to Universal Elysium Consortium, which emerged as the preferred concessionaire through an open bid process.

Universal Elysium Consortium comprises Universal Elysium Limited (Lead Investor), China National Electrical Engineering Limited (EPC Contractor), Port of ANTWERP (Technical Partner) and China Harbor Engineering Company (Nig.) Ltd (Technical Partner).

The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) midwifed the concession process.

Speaking at the concession signing agreement after the end of the commercial bid, the Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, said the Onitsha River Port concession will be the catalyst for the rest of the River ports to be concessioned.

She said the concession when fully optimised will attract economic benefits and create employment, which is critical to the nation’s economy, adding that, it will also help with the issue of insecurity in the country.

She noted that moving cargo by the river will reduce the pressures on roads and the risks of tankers and trucks on the roads will reduce.

The Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Dr. George Moghalu, said the concession was a tasking process as several government agencies were involved in the process including the World Bank.

He said the river channels will continue to be maintained to ensure cargoes are able to be shipped to the river ports.

Also speaking, the managing director of Universal Elysium Consortium Ltd, Dr. George Nwangwu, said his company is willing to invest to rehabilitate the port and make sure it runs profitably.

“We are to rehabilitate, operate and transfer back to the federal government after 30 years. We will invest N4bn in the first instance and we will continue to invest. We are a Nigerian company and we are happy to invest in Nigeria,” he noted.

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