Lekki Port set to boost economy with $361bn revenue, 193,000 jobs

At a time when the nation’s economy is battling for survival, with debt servicing over shooting revenue, hopes are high that the multi-billion dollar Lekki deep sea port would provide an alternative source of revenue to the government and raise the Gross Domestic Product ( GDP).

Started in 2020 as a multi-purpose vehicle, the Lekki Port management is projecting a revenue target of $361billion about N252.7 trillion (at the rate of N700 to a dollar) with assurances that the project would meet the December 2022 completion deadline while the official commissioning will take place in March 2023.

These disclosures were made at the weekend by Lawrence Smith, the Lekki Port chief operating Officer (COO) at a Public-Private Partnership consultative forum held at the Port complex in Lekki, Lagos and presided over by the Director-General/CEO, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Mike Ohiani.

In attendance were officials responsible for PPP in federal government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) including; the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Office of the Head of Service of the Federation (OHSF), ICRC, Federal ministries of Power and Environment, Nigeria Film Corporation, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) Nigerian maritime administration and Safety agency ( NIMASA).

The Lekki port is a multi-purpose deep sea port located at the Lagos Free Trade Zone, in Ibeju-Lekki. It is reputed as one of the most modern ports in west Africa, offering enormous support to the burgeoning commercial operations across Nigeria and the entire sub- region.

Read also: Lekki Deep Seaport receives first cargo vessel

Smith said the Lekki port was estimated to cost the company the sum of US$ 1.53billion on fixed assets and US$800m on construction and would when completed “ have an estimated aggregate impact of US$ 361bn over a period of 45 years as well as offer a multiplier effect of more than 230 times over the total cost of $1.53 bn”.

“The Lekki deep sea port is designed to boost the economy of Nigeria and open it up to more local and international business transactions especially in the area of export of goods across the world. It has the potential of being a tranportation hub in West Africa. It has high potential for return on investment and would create thousands of jobs in the country” he said.

It is also estimated that the port will create 169,972 jobs while revenue to state and federal agencies from taxes, royalties and duties will amount to US$ 201bn respectively.

It is also projected that other catalytic economic impacts will be direct and induced business revenue impact of $158bn with qualitative impact on manufacturing, trade and commercial services sectors of the Nigerian economy.

In his presentation to the guests, Daniel Ndibe, Lekki port manager said the deep sea port would when completed, enhance the capacity of the existing port infrastructure in Nigeria, attract bigger vessels and help the shipping lines achieve economies of scale and in turn reduce the cost of transportation per container into Nigeria.

“With the modern cranes (ship to shore cranes) and automation, there will be “reduced waiting time for vessels coming to the port, quick turnaround of vessels thereby reducing cost for the shipping lines, quick availability of raw materials to manufacturing concerns, quick turnaround of capital for importers and short transit time for containers coming to Nigeria”, Ndibe explained

Preparatory to the march 2023 commissioning, the port he said has archived 95 percent work completion and has received first ship to berth at the port.

He lamented that the directive by president Muhammadu Buhari to the federal ministry of transportation and the Nigerian Rail corporation (NRC) to create a rail link from the Lagos-Calabar rail line to the port was yet to commence months after the directive was issued stressing that if implemented, it would further enhance the operations of the port by opening up access to rural communities for shipment of goods and services across the country. Already, the port has received its first ship, he said.

Speaking after a guided tour of the port complex, Ohiani, DG ICRC and leader of the delegation expressed satisfaction with the level of work done at the port and expressed optimism that the port management would meet the December 2022 completion deadline.

“Let me say that I am very much pleased with what I have seen here today and I know that I am speaking the minds of other members of the delegation. As a regulatory commission, the Lekki deep sea port is one of the projects we reviewed and certificated and subsequently approved by the Federal executive council as a special purpose vehicle with the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Lagos state government as key stakeholders in the project,” Ohiani said

“We are optimistic that when completed and operational, the port will serve as a veritable avenue for economic development by creating multiple jobs for our teeming youths, revenue for government in form of taxes and other levies and serve as a hub of economic activities especially the for coastal areas while the intermodal transportation system would receive a boost. The port will be linked to the dry ports using barges and that will take tankers off the roads and expand the life span of the roads in addition to other benefits to the nation”, Ohiani stated.

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