27 March 2015, Lagos – The federal government has committed about $118 million to the construction of the proposed Lekki Deep Seaport, Lagos, the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Mallam Habib Abdullahi, has said. This is aside the support from six financial institutions- the African Development Bank, European Investment Bank, Standard Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Diamond Chartered Bank and African Finance Corporation (AFC).
The multi-billion naira project, which also involves the Lagos State Government and a Singaporean investor, Tolaram Group is expected to create thousands of jobs and significantly reduce the present congestion in Nigerian premier port, Apapa Quay, Lagos.
The project, besides other ones proposed for Warri, Delta; Ibeno, Akwa Ibom State; Agge, Bayelsa State, and Bagary, Lagos State is under the auspices of the Greenfield ports development programme of the federal government.
Abdullahi, who gave an update of the project shortly after an inspection of the project site on the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ), Lagos, said as at 2014, the government had paid a total of N1 billion to the development of the project.
He clarified: “The total amount of the federal government’s stake in this project is $118 million. What we had as at last year was N1 billion and we have already paid that. We have already started making payments on this because there was an allegation that the government has not started making payments. That is totally wrong. We have already paid our own dues as at last year. For the year 2015, we have made enough provision to pay up the remaining amount that is due to us. It is still with the government but we have already made an agreement with them and we will pay it up by the end of the year”.
The NPA MD added: “When completed, this project will be an eye-opener that will attract other investors and it will also inspire the construction of other proposed deep seaports, like the Badagry deep seaport, Olokonla port in Ogun state, Ogidigben port in Delta state, and the Ibom deep seaport in Akwa Ibom State. This project will drive the economy and bring economy growth to the country. It will yield employment. It will be of great advantage to Lagosians and Nigerians as a whole. It will be a hub of West Africa to bring export promotions into the state and will transform the whole economy as promised by President Goodluck Jonathan.”
Meanwhile, the major sponsor of the Lekki deep seaport project, Tolaram Group has promised that full construction of the port project, expected to gulp about $1.5 billion will begin in July 2015.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of Lekki Port Project, Mr. Haresh Aswani, said the port would be built within 40 months. He disclosed that the LFTZ would be the largest industrial city in Nigeria.
According to Aswani, while we are building the port, industries will come up to build their projects, knowing that the port is coming up, cumulatively. It is a 10 years programme.
He explained that the core investor was working very closely with the Lagos State Government on a master plan.
“They have gotten approvals already for new roads to be built. We are working very closely with the Federal Ministry of Works at the federal level, to built more roads for the purpose of evacuation of cargo. We have a proper road study done and shared with the Lagos state Government. Apart from the Lekki Port Project, Dangote Group and four other major projects are also coming up to transform the area. It will be the deepest seaport outside of South Africa in Africa. The investments that will be coming into the region when it is fully operational will exceed $25 billion”, he added.
He said the promoters of the project are going to give instruction to China Harbour Construction Company to proceed with the construction.
– This Day