BusinessDay

Investors plan to build three major roads around Lekki Port for $1bn  

Determined to ensure effective cargo evacuation from the $1.5 billion Lekki Deep Seaport project, the promoters together with the Lagos State Government is presently perfecting plans to woo new investors into developing three major roads to link the seaport to the hinterland.

Biodun Dabiri, chairman of Lekki World Wide, disclosed this in Lagos on Friday at the commissioning of the Ariel Food Factory and ground-breaking ceremony of 500-unit middle income residential housing located at Lekki Free Trade Zone.

According to him, there were three major roads that are coming towards the Lekki axis, adding that two of the roads would be coming from the port.

“The first one would be a 54km Port Express Road, which would start from North side of the port to the Epe Interchange between Epe and Ijebu. The Ogun state part of the road would take about 15 percent while the Lagos part of the road would take about 85 percent, and the road project would gulp almost about $1 billion,” he explained.

Dabiri stated that there were investors, who have carried out extra studies on the road projects, stating that any moment from now, both parties will finalise every detail concerning the road project.

“The second road would come through Epe to the Airport while the third road would be the existing road through Eleko, which would be expanded, repaired and refurbished to carry the traffic from the port to the Lagos axis,” he further said.

On the other hand, he disclosed that the Lagos State Government has been working round-the-clock to ensure the effective utilisation of waterways.

“The idea was to turn Lekki Free Zone into a self-sustaining city with adequate infrastructural capacity needed to contribute extensively towards easing the congestion in the city. The central part of Lagos is choked while we have ample spaces in the Eastern and Western parts needed to ease the tension in the central,” Dabiri said.  

While stating that Lekki Seaport was a project, which was seen by Senate as an impossible deal to finance, has reached its financial closure, he pointed out that Lekki Port project, which would be completed in 24 months, has survived almost five managing directors of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), and four to five ministers of transport as well as four executive governors of Lagos State.

He disclosed that the Project Finance International (PFI), an arm of Thompson Reuters, recently awarded Lekki Port, the best Infrastructural Deal in Africa in 2019.

“This was achieved because the State Government allowed professionals to work and that was why we keep pleading that government should create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive,” he added.

According to him, achieving this feat, involved a 3-year process of finding and negotiating terms with new financiers after 13 years of an attempt to secure finances for the port project.          

On Lekki Free Zone, Dabiri stated that the vision of Lekki Free Zone was born by the administration of Bola Tinubu, when many Lagosians were wondering the purpose of the vision. “This was because at that time, nobody expected that any state can deliver on such expensive and expansive project like LFZ.

Dabiri listed the significant economic benefits of LFTZ to include job creation and skill development for the locals. He stated that the Free Zone has about five major investors contributing to the projected investment volume of close to $20 billion in the next three years.

He applauded the steady support of the Lagos State Government, adding that without government support the project would not have achieved this milestones.

Lekki Port, currently being promoted by Tolaram Group in partnership with Lagos State and the NPA, is a multi-purpose seaport that is located at the heart of the Lagos Free Trade Zone, and at completion, it will be one of the most modern ports in West Africa, offering enormous support to the burgeoning commercial operation across Nigeria and the entire West African region.
AMAKA ANAGOR-EWUZIE