…As NPA pledges commitment to providing support for timely completion
The Federal government has said that the Lekki Sea Port, Lagos, when completed would be a high revenue and job generating hub for the country.President Muhammadu Buhari , who was represented by his vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo said this during the flag off the construction of the Lekki Deep Sea Port in Lagos, pledging that the Federal Government will give the needed support to the project.
According to him the project will become one of the largest sea ports in the region, and serve as a hub for port operations in the whole of West Africa. Also the Federal Government stated plans to embark on massive exportation of goods using the Lekki Deep Seaport when it becomes operational in 2021 .He noted that he project, once completed, is designed to influence the generation of up to 170,000 direct and indirect jobs in the economy.
“It is a landmark project for several reasons — the promoters of this project are targeting, we are told, about 1.5 million TEUs (Twenty Equivalent Units) container capacity annually, which they expect to grow to about 2.7 million and 4.7 million TEUs when the project commences.“With this feat, this sea port will become one of the largest in our region and serve as a hub for ports operations in the whole of West Africa.“There is no question at all that the project will be the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa and possibly, the largest in Africa.
“I’m also told that the promoters also plan to dredge the port channel to about 16 metres draft, which is not currently obtainable in any sea port or any port for that matter in the country.“This, in itself, is an indication that ships of larger sizes will now be able to visit the port, and greater efficiency and economies of scale will generate significant revenues for the Nigerian economy, with government earning a significant portion of it,” he said.He explained that the development of the Lekki Deep Seaport was critical to the creation of special economic zones, which would serve as models for others across the country.
He said, “In the past two budgets, we have provided an average growth of N90bn for development of SEZs and we are developing the special Lekki economic zone as a model for other economic zones specifically targeting export.”
He noted that the ceremony was a landmark event towards driving the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery Growth Plan and the present administration’s emphasis on supporting game changing infrastructure projects directed at making major impact on trade and commerce.
In his own remarks the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said the Lekki seaport would be the first deep seaport in Nigeria and give the country the ability to receive very large crude carriers.He added the ability to accommodate large vessels would the nation a regional hub.“I hope this would help us generate outward cargoes because we have been having problems in raising outward cargoes. We must also work hard to make sure that we send out commodities to other countries.”Also speaking the Lagos State Governor, Akinwumi Ambode, represented by the Deputy Governor, Lagos State, Idiat Adebule, said the maritime sector had the potential to become a major revenue earner with significant contribution to the Gross Domestic Product of Nigeria.
He said the Lekki Deep Seaport had an adequate space for container storage with modern equipment to facilitate port operations and would tremendously relieve Apapa and Tincan ports of pressure.He said the port would impact greatly on the development of the Lekki free trade zone while also commending the promoters of the project for their confidence in choosing Nigeria as an investment destination.Earlier in her opening address ,the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman, said the project was in line the with Federal Government’s commitment to promote private investment.
She said that the NPA fully paid share capital of five per cent, which was the minimum investment enough to give the private investor confidence, without having undue interference as a regulator.She said the vision of the NPA was to provide an enabling environment for the operators, stressing that Nigeria being the largest exporter and importer of cargo in West Africa subregion required a deep seaport, which would receive large vessels.“These big ships move cargo more efficiently. We will work with all stakeholders to see the deep seaport become a world-class facility,” she said.
Said funding for the Lekki Deep Sea Port project is structured at equity and debt ratio of 20:80 respectively,”and in line with the commitment of the federal government to promote private sector investment, the Nigerian Ports Authority has a fully paid 5% minimal investment, enough to give it a stake, to give the investors comfort and enable it perform its oversight technical regulatory functions without being unduly hindered by commercial considerations.
“The other 95 percent interest is owned in a 18: 8 ratio by the Lagos State Government and the Tolaram Group respectively. Of the 75 percent owned by the Tolaram Group however, the Federal Government holds a further 15% shareholding to the value of $107.78 million converted into shares from a pre-2002FG grant to promoters of Tolaram Group toward financing the Viva Methanol Project.
“The vision of the Nigerian Ports Authority is to provide the enabling environment for Nigeria to have the best ports in Africa and the event here today gratefully moves us closer to that reality. “The fact is that Nigeria, being the largest importer and exporter of cargo in the West African sub-region, requires deep sea ports, which can receive large vessels like the Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC), Ultra Large Crude Carriers (ULCC), Panamax and Post Panamax vessels. This Big ships move cargo more efficiently than smaller vessel and are the new preference of ship owners. A nation as endowed as ours without facilities to receive ships like this thereby cuts itself short.
“As statutory regulators of ports in the country, the NPA is committed to providing the technical support and regulatory environment that would see to the timely completion of construction work and ensure efficient operations and management of the port upon commissioning. “We will work with all stakeholders to see the Lekki Deep Sea Port becomes a world class facility and an enviable edifice that can stand the test of time, become an institution that will be the pride of all stakeholders and encourage more of such investments in the country.
“As we work toward revamping the decaying port infrastructure we inherited and encouraging new investments in the sector, we are confident that projects such as thisforetell the renewal possible in our port infrastructure, the resurgence of our economy through the gateways that our ports are and the creation of a modern, agile, technically competent and competitive workforce that will make our nation proud.
“I want to recognise the commitment of President, of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Executive Council especially the Honorable Minister for Transportation, Rt. Honourable Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi as well as the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode to this project.“I also thank my colleagues at the NPA and other stakeholders whose concerted effort has given us the leap that brought us here today. With the zeal that I have seen in all of us, it is evident that we are poised to take Nigeria’s maritime industry to its right place on the global map”.
In his remarks, Mr Navin Nahata, CEO Lekki Sea Port, one of the promoters of the project, said that the project had demonstrated that Nigeria is an investment destination.He promised to put in all efforts to deliver the project by 2020
The Managing Director, Tolaram Group, Haresh Aswani, said the project would change the future of the nation’s maritime sector and serve as a catalyst for economic development and the general well-being of Nigerians.
He said when completed, it would create about 170,000 direct and indirect jobs while also generating about N360bn under the concession including over N200m in tax revenue for both the Lagos State Government and Federal Government
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