By John Okeke
The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has taken a giant stride in the actualisation of its bid to develope the economy and diversify from crude oil. To this end the Ministry has signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with Sealink Promotional Company Limited on the use of Ajaokuta jetty landing port.
The project which is being executed in conjunction with Nigeria Export Import Bank, NEXIM, is geared towards utilizing the commercial value of the jetty and effective usage of the waterway.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite, speaking during the signing ceremony, disclosed that the use of waterways as means of transportation will not only increase the volume of commerce, but would remove the huge logistics challenges encountered on the road, reduce the damage done to the roads by heavy duty trucks as well as decrease the high cost of road maintenance.
Adegbite revealed that the use of the Ajaokuta jetty as landing port for the internal waterways would enable goods to be transported easily and at a cheaper rate and increase commercial activities around the jetty.
He applauded the collaboration, saying that such Public Private Partnership would aid in economic growth and improve infrastructural development.
He saluted the doggedness of the team in bringing the project to fruition and assured of the Ministry’s full support.
Earlier, the Managing Director of Nigeria Export Import Bank (NEXIM), Abba Bello, affirmed that the signing of the MoU was a milestone in the private sector support of government’s effort to diversify the economy.
Bello disclosed that the signing of the MoU with the Ministry would enable Sealink Promotional Company to use the jetty as lading port. He thanked the Ministry for its cooperation in driving the project.
Speaking in the same vein, Chairperson of Sealink Promotional Company, Dabney Shall-Holma revealed that it would lend its services to provide support and capacity in terms of evacuation of solid minerals. She added that the use of the waterways would be very affordable as it will remove about 80% of the cost element of transportation.
In his closing remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Edet Sunday Akpan, appreciated everyone who worked tirelessly to ensure that the project is concluded and ready to take-off.
He commended the company for partnering with the Ministry to put the jetty to effective use.