By Eromosele Abiodun
The federal government has pledged its total support to the management of Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise towards the actualisation of the $1.5billion Lekki Deep Sea Port project.
President Muhammadu Buhari made the commitment at the flag-off of the project in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos.
Represented by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Buhari stated that the project was in line with the federal government Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP).
â€œWe are totally committed to the success of this laudable project because of its enormous economic benefits, with a target of 1.5million 20-foot equivalent units of container capacity annually which is expected to grow to 4.7million TEUs, Lekki Port will become the largest port in Nigeria and serve as a hub for port operation for the whole of West Africaâ€. Osinbajo said.
According to the Vice President, the Lekki Deep Sea Port, which is jointly owned by the Tolaram Group, the Lagos State Government and the Nigerian Ports Authority is expected to be a major boost to the maritime sector and the Nigerian economy at large.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed that the Lekki Deep Sea Project is one of the three key projects that the current administration, through the Ministry of Transportation is determined actualise. He noted that the ministry under his watch has helped the promoters of the project to remove all the obstacles, which were hitherto frustrating the smooth take-off of the projects by successive administration.
On his part, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms. Hadiza BalaUsman stated that the NPA as regulator of ports operations in NigeriaÂ is committed to providing technical support and regulatory environment that would see to the timely completion of the construction work and ensure efficient operation and management of the port. She promised that the NPA would work with all stakeholders to ensure that the deep sea port becomes a world class facility and an enviable edifice that can stand the test of time, become an institution that would be the pride of all stakeholders and encourage more of such investment.
Delivering his address at the ceremony, the Managing Director (Africa), Tolaram Group, Mr. Haresh Aswani commended the federal government for creating an enabling environment and providing necessary support for business growth, promising that the company is determined to deliver the Lekki Deep Sea project both to specification and time.
Aswani disclosed that the Lekki Deep Sea Port would support and enhance the development of the various Free Zones in the area, thereby making Lekki the economic hub for the region and also create an enabling environment for the businesses and help in furthering the national policy of improvement in the â€˜ease of doing businessâ€™ in Nigeria.
â€œThe Lekki Deep Sea Port is a very important and germane project that will contribute immensely to the growth of the Nigerian economy, creating about 170,000 direct and indirect jobs, generating approximately $361 billion during the period of concession and generating over $201billion in revenue to both Lagos State and Federal Governmentâ€™â€™ he said.
On his part, the Chairman of China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), the EPC Contractor and one of the major investors in the project, Mr. Lin Yichong pledged that the company would deliver the Lekki port to the highest international quality for which it is known and present a new standard for ports not only in Nigeria but in Africa and the world.
In his own remarks immediately after the ceremony, the Managing Director,Â Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Barrister Emmanuel Jime explained that the project is fundamental to the delivery of effective free zone environment that would fast-track Nigeriaâ€™s economic drive, provide the much needed jobs and ultimately model Dubaiâ€™s Jebel Ali as a commercial hub.
â€œAs a regulator, NEPZA would continue to provide the Free Zone framework to support the Lagos Free Trade Zone and indeed all of our Free Zones to enable the actualization of the economic goals of the nation,â€ he added.