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Questions on funding as FG plans $1.6bn two new seaports in PH, Warri

…As stakeholders prefer capacity upgrade of existing ones than new ones

Recent revelation in Warri, by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, that two new seaports will be built in Port Harcourt and Warri has continued to elicit reactions.

Whereas many maritime stakeholders describe the plot as clear misplacement of priority considering the observed poor attention given to existing ports in both cities in the areas of infrastructure and needed upgrades since 2015.

According to analysts, the best way to relieve Lagos ports of Apapa and TinCan of pressure and traffic conundrum is to upgrade infrastructure at Warri, Port Harcourt and Onne Ports and even Onitsha River Port.

They are of the view that the best way out of ending Lagos Ports crisis is to revive service delivery in existing ports within the South-South region than new ones that may not be completed within the time of the current administration.

Addressing about 1,700 beneficiaries of starter packs, micro-enterprise enhancement loan and resettlement package under the National Directorate of Employment’s (NDE) empowerment programme in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State, Amaechi said “The Federal Government is set to build a new seaport in Pessu and a similar one in Bonny in the Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State. The seaport (project) will gulp $800m each.”

The Minister used the occasion to throw more lights on the implications of disrupting the smooth execution of the project by the youths, arguing that “When you stop them from working, you are losing such a huge investment where the entire community can be contractors; some can supply sand.”

“The best thing to do is to allow the development. Imagine the companies that have left Warri; let the seaport project go on smoothly.”

However, checks on the 2020 national budget currently undergoing legislative surgery at the National Assembly revealed that should the two projects be based on the Transportation budget estimates, it may not be feasible as the cost of the two ports far overshoots the sector’s total.