BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN
Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the construction of Gelegele Seaport between the Edo State Government and China Habour Engineering Company (CHEC) Ltd., in China three weeks ago, senior officials of the company arrived Benin City, Tuesday, to commence preliminary development.
The Executive Director of the company, Mr Jason Wang, led the team of engineers from the Chinese firm to begin the execution of the project with the development of a masterplan for the project, feasibility study and an in-depth assessment of the Gelegele Seaport Report submitted by the Engr. Greg Ero-led Technical Committee on the Actualisation of the seaport, to the state government.
Exactly 21 days ago, China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd., the most renowned marine engineering and port development company which constructed over 90 percent of the seaports in China, signed an MoU with the Edo State Government to develop the Gelegele Seaport.
The company with over 90 branches and operating in about 100 countries across the world commenced operations in 1994, handling various projects in Nigeria including Calabar, Warri ports and most recently, the $1billion Lekki Deep Seaport.
During the meeting with Governor Obaseki and other senior officials of the Edo State Government, Wang explained that apart from the Gelegele Seaport, his company will also carry out other infrastructural projects including access roads and rail projects as well as the dredging of 35 nautical miles of the seaport.
In his response, Governor Godwin Obaseki, welcomed the members of the CHEC team and stressed that the speedy implementation of the MoU shows the commitment of both parties to the actualisation of the project.
“We signed the agreement exactly 21 days ago and our Chinese partners are here today to commence preliminary work on the project. This shows the seriousness of both China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd., and Edo State Government. It also shows that we have chosen the right partners. 90 percent of the ports in China were built by this company.
“In terms of experience, there are not many companies in the world that can match CHEC. The governor stressed that another unique advantage of the partnership is that the Chinese company will help to raise the financing as they have done for many other projects in Nigeria, including the $1billion Lekki Deep Seaport that they have helped to finance at an interest rate of 2.5 percent with facility from the China EXIM Bank.
“We are excited to be working with people like you. Under this project, we want to build road and rail access. We want to use this access to build a toll road from Benin to Okpella. You have taken the project very seriously and we want to assure you that we have the political will to execute this project,” Obaseki said.
The governor hinted that the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, has assured that all the approvals needed for the project will be given at the federal level.
BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN