…Says 1,000 people would be first employed at Commencement!***
The nation’s foremost Shipping mogul, Engr. Greg Utomwen Ogbeifun says ships from other countries would soon swoop on Nigeria, with a positive multiplier economic effects, once Nigeria’s planned shipyard in Onne comes fully on board.
Nigeria, through the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), in tandem with stakeholders in the nation’s shipping as well as the Oil and Gas, are working assiduously at ensuring the country acquires vibrant shipyard, anchored on Private sector initiative.
Ogbeifun indicated this in Lagos, as he unveiled more facts on Nigeria’s shipbuilding and ship repairs yard project, particularly on job opportunities and the Government’s revenue.
“This facility is expected to employ about a thousand people at commencement, direct labor and maybe about five thousand multiplier effects.
“I would educate you round this project in a little while. So, it’s going to create jobs; it’s going to bring about skill transfer for the country.
“We have decided that we were not going to stop with ship repairs. One of the cardinal requirements of the Cabotage Act is that ships operating in Nigerian waters have to be built in this country.
“You can’t build a ship in your country if you don’t have a shipbuilding facility; so we now incorporated two shops for new shipbuilding, each can take a maximum length of 65m, so that means that 99 percent of the ship operating upstream of our oil and gas industry can actually be constructed in this place.
“If we speak to an agency like Nigerian Port Authority, you will find out that majority of the ships they own, tugs in particular were built by Damen Shipyard in Holand. If you have this facility here, chances are that NPA for example will like to build their ships here. Worst case Damen seeing this development will come to STARZS and say look we will like to lease the building place. So, it is an opportunity for everybody, both indigenous and foreigners.
“Just like Nigerian shipowners take their ships out of the country to go to places like Abidjan, Las Palmas, Thelma, sometimes as far as South Africa, Namibia to carry out ship repairs, ships in other countries will also come into this country to patronize this facility, both for the new building and for the repair.
“So, at the appropriate time, we decided to go on a roadshow to sensitize the relevant stakeholders about this initiative. So, when we went to NIMASA, and made this presentation last year, the team that listened to us was led by the Director-General, other Executive Directors and General Managers were there. When we finished the presentation of this, there and then the DG set up a committee, headed by the Director Cabotage to immediately start to work with us to actualize this, because they saw the benefit.
“After a couple of minutes of few meetings with that committee, they recommended that we should consider increasing the length of the lifting capacity from 90 meters to 120 meters so it can accommodate some the coastal tankers that fall within that. So, we went back to the drawing board, we looked at it and we realized that it was feasible and that’s why you now see that what we’ve designed is 120 meters long.
“Then we went to the Nigerian Ports Authority to make the presentation; the team that listened to us was led by the very vibrant, hardworking Managing Director, respected woman, Hadiza Bala Usman.
“She listened patiently to our presentation and when we finished, she said ‘Greg, this project, this country needs it urgently’, that even if she has to take off her gourd as a Managing Director of NPA, on a personal basis, she will work hard to see this thing actualizes and there and then also she setup a committee, headed by the General Manager Engineering to work with us to see the actualization and to see what NPA can do to support and make it happen.
“So that gave us a lot of encouragement to continue to drive the process, so we came back and now said the next thing to do is to ensure that we drive this process on an International Standard of probity, accountability and transparency.
“We then decided that we needed to engage the services of a Transaction Advisor of international reputation, to work with us on this project, from start to finish.
“We engaged the consultant to help us in the process of procuring the transaction advisor. So, the consultant who is experienced in this helped us to put together the request for proposal to act as transaction adviser for this project.
“When that RMP was put together detailing what the work of the transaction adviser is supposed to be: which is to start with us from where we are, develop the detailed design, develop the outline business case, get involved in the full business case, procurement of ABC contractor that will do the construction, identification of the international company that will partner to work with us in the operations up to commissioning, including funding structure and helping to raise finance for this project. All these are part of the responsibilities of the transaction adviser.
“So, we went out there and we identified about 14 companies both in-country and all over the world, who we believe should have experience in driving a project like this. At the end of the day, only three (3) qualified to submit the bid for Transaction Adviser.
“A time table was developed for the bids’ submission, a date was fixed for the bids opening and the bid evaluation, both for technical bid and financial bid, if you didn’t pass the technical bid you did not go into the financial.
“So what we did, we now wrote to the management of NIMASA and NPA that we are about to embark on this exercise of procuring the transaction adviser and we would like them to send a representative from their committees that they set up on this project to act as observers because we wanted the process to be as transparent… and should be a process that has integrity no matter the scrutiny because we don’t know how far this is going to go. If the government is going to get involved in supporting this initiative then all the relevant government regulatory bodies ICRC, BPP, and others too will get involved.
“So, we decided that from day one, everything we are going to do is to meet those requirements.
“So that’s how come yesterday the technical bids were open; and out of the three companies that submitted technical bids, only two passed to the financial bids; and the two financial bids were open today in the presence of everybody of course and now we have a preferred bidder that could be the Transaction Adviser.
“The Consultant is now going to redevelop the comprehensive detail report that would authenticate the process and confirm the preferred bidder; and this we would now forward to the board of STARZS Marine for consideration and possible approval, before the board’s Technical Committee will now engage the preferred bidder, in negotiations to start the process of implementation.
“That is where we are on this process”, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the STARZS Marine and Investment explained further.