Akin Akande, Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the sum of N42 billion for the construction of shipbuilding facility and dockyard in Delta State.
The Council also approved a contract for the dredging of Escravos/ Warri/ Aladja Channel at the cost of N274.9m to be completed in 10 months.
The Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, disclosed this at end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting that the project includes civil and infrastructure works at the dockyard, which is aimed at growing local content.
Netherlands Ship Builders, which according to the minister is the second largest ship builders in the world, have been engaged to partner with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for the project.
Idris announced that Onitsha Port would be concessioned soon by government, adding that the port, which is 2.5 meters deep, was not built to carry ocean-going vessels.
He noted that Nigeria was losing huge resources to patronizing foreign ship builders.
The minister also revealed that all the vessels were acquired from outside the country as he added that the construction of the ship building facility would enhance maritime business in the country.
“The idea is for NIMASA to create opportunities for the stakeholders, including ship-owners currently operating in Nigeria,” he stated.
FEC has also authorized the training of 2,700 non-militant Niger Delta youths in Information Technology and Agriculture at the cost of about N258.7million and N549million respectively, under an existing programme under the Ministry of Agriculture.
Minister of State Niger Delta, Dairu Ishaku, who was also at the briefing, said the training would be staggered across states in the Niger Delta area.