• Says the port will attract 6,650 trucks daily
•Puts value of exported goods from Lekki at N264bn
Gboyega Akinsanmi

The Lagos State Government on Monday noted that Lekki Deep Sea Port would not create another Apapa, even though the port would attract at least 6, 650 articulated vehicles daily when completed by 2020.

Apart from its challenges it might create in the future, the state government put the value of finished goods exported from the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) between 2015 and 2018 at over $735.8million (N264 billion).

The Commissioner for Commerce & Cooperatives, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, gave the figure yesterday at a ministerial briefing she addressed at Alausa to mark the third anniversary of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode in office.
She addressed the briefing alongside the Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, and Permanent Secretary in charge of the Ministry of Commerce & Cooperatives, Mr. Lekan Akodu among others.

Speaking at the briefing, she said the state government “has opened its doors to investors willing to provide inter-modal transportation infrastructure within the LFTZ axis with emphasis on road and rail system to accommodate massive investments coming into the corridor and solve the attendant traffic challenges.”
She added that Lagos was fast becoming the preferred investment destination across the world with the emerging industrial revolution within the Epe-Ibeju-Lekki corridor of the state especially the Lekki Free Zone, the Lekki Deep Seaport, the Dangote Refinery and Fertilizer Plants.

She, however, said the state government was not unmindful of the fact that an integrated transportation system was critical to the success of the zone when all the ongoing businesses come on stream.
According to her, we are not unmindful of the fact that one of the critical success factors, that is, an integrated transportation infrastructure, must be catered for along with these various investors’ endeavours within the corridor for us to harness the full values that these projects will bring on board when they all fully come on stream.

Specifically, the commissioner disclosed that the state government “has been working on a plan to provide a holistic inter-modal transportation network comprising rail, road and water transportation systems.

“The plan has become imperative to mitigate future challenges especially traffic congestion in view of the envisaged estimated 6,650 daily trucks movement within the corridor when all the ongoing businesses take off fully.”
She added that the state government was working on different strategies “to ensure that the Lekki Deep Sea Port does not create another Apapa. As a government, we are responsive. As a government, we are futuristic.”

Citing the enormity of funds required to construct road and rail infrastructure within the corridor, the commissioner said the state government “has encouraged investors to express interest in the planned axial roads that will take vehicular traffic away from the adjoining towns to Ogun State. There are other roads that we are working on.”

She said the state government would do everything possible to fast-track the necessary procurement process for the selection of the concessionaire to enable construction work begin on the road before the end of the year.
She added that the deep sea port would be the deepest seaport in Sub-Saharan Africa and would create over 170,000 direct jobs in the state.

The commissioner added that the first ship “is expected to berth before the end of the first quarter in 2020 when the construction will be completed.”
In the last three years, Oladunjoye put the value of finished goods exported from LFTZ at over $735.8 million, an equivalent of about N264 billion, noting that the state government was totally committed to the development of businesses in the zone.
She added that measures were taken to ensure that the goods meet international standard before they are exported out of the country.

She said the Nigerian Customs, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and other supporting agencies coordinated the exporting process of the goods in conjunction with the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
She said it was a testament “to the fact that the zone is living up to expectation. The zone was conceptualized to develop an offshore economic growth zone, attract foreign investments, promote export, create job opportunities, transfer technology, minimise capital flight and establish a one stop business haven and currently has 22 Free Zone Enterprises and 18 manufacturing enterprises in operation.”

Oladunjoye disclosed that the Joint Venture with the Chinese Consortium has a total equity investment of $180.4 million and has received Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) totaling $140.2 million out of the $200million FDI expected from the Consortium.
She said 125 investors have registered while 59 investors have their Lease Agreements, adding that 726 Nigerians have been employed by the FZEs and N376.5million spent on executing 14 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects for host communities.
She listed other achievements in the Lekki Free Zone to include $500million FDI from FZEs in operation, while a Customs Processing Centre (CPC) for Nigeria Customs Service was established to improve the ease of doing business and eliminate bottlenecks.