By Steve Agbota and Charity Nwakaudu
Federal Government on Wednesday said that with the complete development of the Lekki Deep Seaport, Nigeria will wrest lost cargoes from Togo, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this while addressing journalists after an on-the-spot inspection of the project in Lagos, said that the project would create 169,972 jobs and bring revenues totalling $201 billion to the state and federal governments through taxes, royalties and duties.
According to him, the aggregate impact of the project has been put at $361 billion in 45 years.
“We have just concluded a tour of the Lekki Deep Sea Port here at the Lagos Free Zone, located some 65 kilometres east of Lagos. This visit is the second we are making to this area within a month, coming after our trip to the Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemicals as well as the Dangote Fertilizer on April 3, 2022.
“You have seen for yourselves, the Lekki Deep Sea Port, a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer concern, is a massive project, a game changer and a pace setter. It is the deepest sea port in Nigeria and West Africa, and that in itself is a unique advantage. It covers a land area of 90 hectares and it has a concession period of 45 years,” he explained.
He added that it is a consortium that includes China Harbour Engineering Company, Tolaram, Lagos State government, Nigerian Ports Authority and Lekki Port Investment Holding Inc.
“I call it a game changer because of the impact it would have on the nation’s economy and the jobs it will create, among others. The investment is huge: $1.53 billion on fixed assets and 800 million on construction. But the aggregate impact has been put at $361 billion in 45 years, which would be over 200 times the cost of building it.
“In addition, it will create 169,972 jobs and bring revenues totalling $201 billion to state and Federal Governments through taxes, royalties and duties. The direct and induced business revenue impact is estimated at $158 billion, in addition to a qualitative impact on manufacturing, trade and commercial services sector
“Beyond that, when it begins operation in the last quarter of this year, it will make it possible for Nigeria to regain the maritime business that was lost to ports in Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. It is also a big boost to Nigeria in its quest to take advantage of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA),” he added.
However, he described the deep seaport as a major advantage Nigeria has to leverage its transshipment. “With this port, Nigeria will become a transshipment hub and the revenue we are currently losing to our neighboring countries will come here. That’s big!
As you know, this project is being done in phases. Phase 1 has reached 89 percent and will be completed in Sept this year.
“The facilities here are first class. We have seven ship to shore cranes and 21 RTG cranes. No port in Nigeria currency has this. The excellent equipment is why this port can do 18,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU), which is more than four times the number that can currently be handled by our other ports.