The impact of the China-Africa Summit might soon be felt by the people of Edo State as the state government, on Monday, signed an agreement with a Chinese firm, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) to construct a port on the Benin River.
State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, and the company’s vice president Li Yi signed the agreement for both parties in a ceremony held at the Nigerian Embassy in Beijing, China.
Obaseki stated the agreement was to build a port on the Benin River, dredge the river which is a channel of about 40 kilometres, and to build a link road to join the bye pass.
The proposed port would link Lekki deep sea port and help decongest the ports in Lagos, the governor disclosed.
“The company we are working with is the largest investor in the Lekki deep sea port. So the Benin River port is going to be a sister port to the Lekki deep-sea port. We expect that up to 30 per cent cargo going to the Lekki deep sea port would be meant for Benin port,” he said.
He added that the construction of the Benin port would also provide opportunities to export agricultural and manufactured products being produced in the in the state.
“We are investing massively on agriculture particularly in areas like oil palm, rubber cassava, fruits and all range of agricultural produce which need to be processed and exported outside the country”
“There are companies operating in the state and are seeking to export their products. The port will provide opportunity not only to export agricultural produce but also some of the products that are now being manufactured in our area,” the governor said.
“Another advantage is that once you create the infrastructure, there is the possibility that other industries would spring up in the state. This opportunity is going to rapidly help in diversifying the economy of Nigeria,” he added.