From Suleiman Idris, Lagos
A Chinese firm, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), which owns majority shares in the Lekki Deep Seaport project have signed a 45-year concessionary agreement with Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited (LPLTZ) to complete the Phase 1 of the project having secured $629 million (about N226. 440 billion) loan to finance the project from the China Development Bank.
Governor of Lagos State Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu witnessed the signing of four agreements with China Development Bank (CDB), including the $629 million financing facility, to accelerate the completion of the Lekki Deep Seaport project, which started in 2011.
Reports indicate that in 30 months’ time, the Nigeria’s first deep seaport will be delivered in Lekki – a coastal community in the nation’s commercial nerve-centre.
Projection shows that after completion, the deep seaport would have two container berths of 680-metre long and 16.5-metre water depth with the capacity to be berthed by fifth generation container ships, which has a capacity of 18,000 TEU ship.
Governor Sanwo-Olu described the development as “another milestone” for the state in infrastructural development and commerce, saying the signing of the agreements ended period of uncertainty that had trailed the delivery of the project. He noted that the completion of the project would invigorate the Lagos economy and push it up in the index of largest economy in the world.
He said: “This is a new beginning for us in Lagos. We have achieved another milestone in our efforts to transform the State and accomplish the 21st century economy ambition. As a Government, we are fully in support of the project. We will do all we can to ensure the terms of the agreements signed today are delivered within 30 months as agreed and we expect the outcome would catalyse Lagos’ fifth largest economy and take it up more in the index of largest economies in years to come.”
In the coming weeks, the Governor said more trade agreements would be signed with foreign investors, adding that his administration would continue to explore investments and partnerships that would accelerate growth and benefit residents of the State.
Chairman of Lekki Port Board of Director, Mr. Biodun Dabiri, noted that the development of the seaport was strategic for the growth of Lekki Free Trade Zone, pointing out that it would make “immense impact” on the nation’s economy by creating more than 200,000 jobs and generating about $350 billion in revenue for the State over the period of the concession.
He said: “The loan facility represents a significant milestone, which when combined with foreign direct investment of $230 million through equity injection by CHEC, will ensure a successful delivery of the seaport and reposition Nigeria as the transshipment hub in sub-Saharan Africa upon the conclusion of the second phase.
“The project is strategic for the economic growth of Lekki Free Zone, as it would support the massive industrial and petrochemical complex being embarked on in the Northern and Southern quadrant of the zone with investment over the next three years peaking at over $20 billion.
“With Lekki Airport in view, there will be an emergence of a Harbour City which would be internationally connected by air and also with world-class integrated transport network of roads, rail and bridges.”