The Federal Government hopes to earn N23 billion from the N4 billion concession of the Onitsha River Port in Anambra State under a public-private partnership arrangement.
The Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, stated this in her address at the signing ceremony of the partnership arrangement at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Transportation in Abuja.
She added that the concession deal which is for 30 years was agreed upon after about five years of discussions on the concession of the facility.
Saraki announced a concessionaire, Universal Elysium Consortium, as the preferred bidder for the port after an open bid process.
Universal Elysium Consortium is comprised of 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 minister said the concession process was facilitated by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission.
Speaking further, Saraki said the Onitsha River Port concession would be the catalyst for the rest of the river ports to be put up on concession.
Other river ports being considered for concession include Baro, Lokoja and Oguta, according to the minister.
The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), the original owners of the facility expressed satisfaction with the concession of the Onitsha River Port.
The Managing Director, NIWA, George Moghalu, said several government agencies were involved in the concession process including the World Bank. On his part, the Managing Director, Universal Elysium Consortium Ltd, George Nwangwu, said his company was willing to invest in the rehabilitation of the port to ensure its profitability.