Banks to conclude Lekki seaport financing in September

23 March 2015, Lagos – The financial arrangements for the Lekki Deep Seaport will be concluded in September, the promoter of the project, the Tolaram Group, has said.

Habib Abdullahi, MD,NPA

Habib Abdullahi, MD, NPA

The Chairman of the group, Mr. Mohan Vaswani, said this in Lagos while receiving a delegation from the Nigerian Ports Authority, led by its Managing Director, Mr. Habib Abdullahi, on Friday.

The project is a joint venture between the Federal Government, which is being represented by the NPA, the Lagos State Government and the Singaporean firm, the Tolaram Group.

Vaswani said, “Six banks have formed a consortium and are moving towards financial closure in September 2015. The banks include African Development Bank, Standard Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, European Investment Bank, and Rand Merchant Bank among others. Serious commitment has been made by key members of the proposed lending the consortium.

“In the meantime, Lagos State and the NPA have contributed their share of the equity. So, we are going to give the notice to proceed to China Harbor Engineering Company. This will take effect probably in the month of April and we expect them to be fully on the ground sometime in July and to begin the construction in earnest.”

The construction of the $1.5bn port is estimated to take 40 months and it should begin operations in 2018.

Vaswani praised the NPA management and the Lekki Port Committee for their commitment and attention to detail on the project, while working with the Tolaram Group.

He added that the port would be the hub for West Africa and the largest deep seaport on the continent, outside South Africa.

Vaswani said, “Within the next few months, this Lekki area will be energised with the sound of construction of a world-class deep seaport, which will definitely position Nigeria to host the highest throughputs in West Africa, with investments exceeding $25bn.

“This is going to be a game changer and we are honoured to be part of this process. Once again, we thank the NPA and the Lagos State Government for their support and we look forward to an exciting collaboration.”

He added that the construction of the seaport would encourage a corresponding development in the Lekki Free Trade Zone.

Abdullahi, on his part, denied reports that the NPA had not paid its share of the equity.

He said the NPA paid about N1bn in 2014 as its contribution towards the project and had also earmarked some money in its 2015 budget for the balance.

Abdullahi said, “The port will be a driving force for the economy and bring employment. It will also act as a catalyst and attract investors for the development for deep seaports at Badagry, Olokola, Ibaka and Ogedengbe.

“It will boost export promotion; that is why we have export processing zone there, and it will be for the benefit of this country.”

– Punch

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