Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo says the proposed port in Ondo will boost commerce and change the landscape of the state.
Akeredolu made the observation in Akure on Thursday during the submission of the feasibility report on the Port of Ondo Deep Sea. He said that the Port of Ondo would be the only viable deep sea port in Nigeria and would be able to serve the whole of West Africa.
I assure you we will have the port declaration before the end of the year. The report has established its viability and bankability. Our dream for this port in Ondo State is to serve as a conduit for our goods, agricultural produce and very soon, our bitumen.
It is the goal of this administration to ensure that the potential of Ondo State is maximised and that all necessary infrastructure required to make this a reality is put in place to achieve this, he said. The governor said his administration would pursue the port project relentlessly, especially for the future generation.
There must be a beginning. We have started and no going back. The goal is clear, we will capitalise and maximise on the coastline which is the deepest in Nigeria, he said.
Akeredolu listed the likely benefits of the port to include opening up of Ondo to the world and access to the hinterland of Nigeria, significant employment opportunities, acquisition of new skills by the labour force.
Increased IGR, infrastructural development, complement our free trade zone facilitating global transit of goods, equipment in and out of Ondo State are other benefits of this port of Ondo, he said.
Earlier, Mr Boye Oyewunmi, Chief Executive Officer, Ondo State Development and Investment Promotion Agency, said the agency was formally launched in October 2017. He said that the agency was saddled with the responsibility of attracting investment opportunities to the state.
Oyewunmi said the agency was investor-friendly, responding promptly to requests of investors and also a one-stop shop for investment.
Some activities involved in the last 15 months include tourist use of waterways, encourage sponsors participation and development pans on how to enhance the tourist attractions, he said.
Mr Willem Slendebroek, Project Leader and Senior Expert, Maritime Transport and Business Studies (MTBS) in charge of the Port of Ondo Development, said the proposed port would create 20, 000 direct jobs.