Vice President Launches High Level Steering Committee to Spearhead the Port Victoria Extension and Rehabilitation Project
The Vice President of the Republic, Mr. Vincent Meriton, has officially launched a High Level Steering Committee to spearhead the Port Victoria Extension and Rehabilitation Project. At a cost of Euro 34 million, the project is one of the largest and most expensive national infrastructural projects to be undertaken by the country. The Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA) is the entity mandated to the execution of this project which will be implemented over the next 3 years.
In his opening remarks to the Steering Committee members during a short ceremony at the SPA Headquarters at Mahe Quay on Tuesday 19th June, the Vice President said that the Government fully supports the project and he noted that “From 1973 when Mahe Quay was first commissioned and from the 1980s when it was last extended, our country has developed rapidly and continued growth has surpassed the capacity of the port to cope with the volumes that pass through it.” He added that “Port Victoria is now the principal gateway to our socio- economy accounting for over 95% of all our imports. It is therefore, important that the port operates seamlessly, smoothly and as efficiently as it possibly can. And we expect no less from the new Port Victoria under this project.”
The Vice President added that upon the completion of the project “larger ships with more carrying capacity are expected to call to Port Victoria, making stop- overs en route from where we import our goods rather than dropping our cargoes in other ports for transshipment to Seychelles. Larger volumes and direct stop- overs mean lower unit cost of transporting a container and therefore, if this cost saving is passed on to the consumer, we should expect to see a reduction in the cost of living to our citizens and cost of importing throughputs to businesses.”
The Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Minister Didier Dogley has been appointed as the Chairman of the High Level Steering Committee whilst Mr. Paul Hodoul who is himself the Chairman of the Board of Directors of SPA has been appointed as the Vice Chairman.
The Committee members comprise of very senior officials appointed from ministries and agencies that have a direct bearing on the port extension project including the Vice Presidents Office, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Economic Planning, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the Ministry for Housing, Infrastructure and Land Transport, the Planning Authority, the Procurement Oversight Unit, the Seychelles Petroleum Company and the Seychelles Ports Authority.
In his remarks, the Vice President also told the Committee members that “they are all experts chosen from various ministries, agencies and institutions who have the ability to unblock any challenges that might present themselves during the course of the project,” as the project will be implemented strictly on international norms and in conformity with all domestic laws and regulations.
The enabling framework of the project is also structured to include a second tier Technical Committee comprising of various officers from other agencies, institutions and important port stakeholders including the SPA and the Terminal Operator (Land Marine Limited), the Public Utilities Corporation and a Project Consultant who will be hired under the Technical Assistance component of the Port Extension Project, and who will also be chairing this Technical Committee. The Technical Committee will be more directly involved on the ground in respect of the project and resolving pertinent issues that may crop up on a daily basis.
The Technical Committee will be reporting to the main High Level Steering Committee on various aspects of the project during its implementation in the event that it is not able to resolve burning issues in a timely manner which might require the intervention of the High Level Committee.
It is a strict requirement under the loan agreements to establish these committees to spearhead the project and to ensure its smooth implementation within schedule and cost parameters.
It is to be recalled that the Port Victoria Extension and Rehabilitation Project is being financed by a Euro 34 million loan and grant package by SPA from a financing consortium comprising of the European Investment Bank – EIB (Euro 12.5 million), the Agence Française de Développement – AFD (Euro 16.5 million) and a grant from the European Union - EU (Euro 5.0 million). The loan agreements were signed on 26th April 2018 at State House in the presence of the President of the Republic.
Presently the SPA is finalizing the Conditions Precedent in respect of the first disbursements whereby various consultants shall be recruited on the basis of open international tender. The first consultancy was launched by EIB on 6th June 2018 with the publication of an Expression of Interest for the selection of a consultant for the Project Design and Preliminary works. Other consultancies to be tendered out include a Project Consultant and an Environmental Consultant. Physical work on the new port is expected to start towards the middle of 2019.
Reference can be made to the EIB website (www.eib.org) for more information on the Port Victoria Extension and Rehabilitation Project.