The decision of the Federal Government to divest from the multi billion naira Lekki deep seaport project has thrown the promoters off balance just as they fret over its future.
The completion date of the project which had experienced several setbacks before it reached the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) stage has been shifted more than once.
The Federal Government had recently announced its plans to sell off its 20 per cent equity holding in the project which is aimed at developing Lagos Free Trade Zone, Lekki, Lagos.
While the Federal Government holds 20 per cent equity in the project, representing, $118 million; the Lagos State Government holds 18.5 per cent; and the Tolaram Group which has its headquarters in Singapore has 61.5 per cent.
The Minister of Transportation, Right Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi who spoke on behalf of the Federal Government disclosed this on the side line of a two day conference of the African Ports Evolution (APE) exhibition which took place recently in Accra, Ghana.
Giving an insight into the decision of the President Mohammadu Buhari’s administration, he stated that while other deep seaports are being developed independent of the Federal Government, it will be wrong for the government to take up equity interest in the Lekki Free Trade Zone. He cited the Badagry deep seaport development, where the promoters have earmarked $2.2 billion for its development without the involvement of the Federal Government.
According to the minister who apparently did not want to be seen supporting one deep seaport promoter in the country against the other, the Buhari administration lacks money for such project at the moment.
While emphasizing the need for a level playing field for all the promoters of deep sea ports in the country, he noted that investors out of fear have always wanted government’s involvement in project developments as a guarantee for sustainability.
The Minister assured investors of continuity of projects in the country, irrespective of the government in power.
The Lekki deep seaport was hitherto a joint venture project of the Federal Government, which is being represented by the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA); Lagos State Government; Lekki LFTZ Enterprise; and a Singaporean based investor, the Tolaram Group.