Policy Implications Of The Sagbama-ekeremor-agge Road
The Sagbama-Ekeremor Road was conceived by the Federal Government in the 1970's but was never delivered. Like other big ticket infrastructural projects in the Niger Delta Region, the road has suffered abandonment for upwards of 37 years.
The Restoration Administration of Governor Henry Seriake Dickson decided to embark on this long -term project for economic and strategic reasons.
The short-term economic implications are that the road will facilitate the movement of men and materials, and ease the cost of doing business in the Sagbama-Ekeremor ( Bayelsa West Senatorial District) axis of the State. Apart from facilitating transportation, the road will open-up the vast agricultural potentials of the State for maximum exploitation. Ostensibly, other neighbouring communities will conjure the courage to construct spurs to the major road and this will connect most of the adjourning communities to the hub.
In the oil up-stream sector, the area has a reservoir of crude oil. The road will facilitate surveillance of oil facilities thereby reducing the incidence of oil theft, violation of oil facilities and other economic crimes. The road would foster improved relationship between the host communities and the Multinationals operating in the area and make it easier for the execution of Memoranda of Understanding and other community development projects.
Strategically, the Sagbama-Ekeremor Road will lead to the seaport community of Agge, which would transform the place into a commercial hub.
One serious observation here is that the development of seaports is in the Concurrent List as par the Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, and the Federal Government cannot abdicate the responsibility of developing the Deep Seaport for the State alone. The project is beyond the carrying capacity of the State because of the huge capital outlay involved. The role of the Federal Government is foregrounded on the basis of the need to diversify the economy and the anticipated revenue it would generate to both the Federal Government and the State.
It behoves the National Assembly members from the Region to ensure that the Federal Government provides much-needed funds for the development of the Agge Deep Seaport. This multi-billion Naira project should not be politicized. The Federal Government should appreciate the efforts of the Bayelsa State and key into the project.
Another principal factor that will lead to the success of the Agge Deep Seaport Project is the involvement of the private sector. Against this backdrop, government can create a Special Purpose Vehicle, SPV for private sector participation. It is a huge, long-term project that should be partly driven by private sector investors.
Private sector funding can also come in the form of equity participation through Irrevocable Standing Order (ISO) for funding by successive administrations, with terms that are favourable for the rise of business clusters around the 'big ticket'. Such orders should constitute part of the laws designed to fast-track the development of Bayelsa State.
The import of the project lies in its potential ability to create jobs, reduce poverty and diversity the economy outside of crude oil. The spillover benefits of the Agge Seaport project are enormous and all hands should be on deck to ensure its adequate funding by stakeholders to ensure its
As a show of commitment, Governor Seriake Dickson has presented a cheque of N400m to the Nigerian Army Corps of Engineers for the survey of an additional 15,000 hectares of land for the Agge Deep Seaport in the state. He reaffirmed that the seaport remained a landmark project, which was of critical importance to the economic fortunes of the state and Nigeria in general.
Dickson added, “We have presented a cheque for the sum of N400m to the Nigerian Army Corps of Engineers, led by its Commander, Brig. Gen. A. O. Adeleke, for the survey of an additional 15,000 hectares of land, having already surveyed 15,000 hectares for the proposed Agge Seaport project.
In a statement on Tuesday by his Chief Press Secretary, Francis Agbo, the governor said his administration placed high premium on security and security-related investments.
He stated that there was the need to build partnerships with the nation’s security services, noting that security could not be maintained unless the security forces worked in tandem with the government and the people.
Governor Seriake Dickson is a visionary leader who is poised to bequeath a bouyant economy for successive administrations. This initiative shall not be forgotten by posterity.
Director-General, Policy & Programmes