Federal Government has disclosed that the Lekki Deep Seaport, in Lagos will begin full commercial activities in September.
This is also as the Executive Secretary, Nigerian’ Shippers’ Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime, disclosed, weekend, that dry ports would soon be completed and put to use as government intensifies efforts to broaden and diversify the country’s economy.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, while inspecting the project on Saturday in Lagos, said it was a huge achievement for the President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration.
”As a layman I cannot talk in terms of percentage. I can only say that I am impressed compared to the last time we came here.
”I am being told by the management that by June, they are expecting cranes and by September, like we agreed, they should commence commercial activities, I am happy.
”This is a privately funded project, over time they will collect their revenue from commercial activities before they hand over to the Federal Government through NPA.
”Obviously taxes will be collected here, even them, they will pay taxes.
”I doubt there is tax exemption, so we will collect taxes and I must say that the confidence in giving them the project is because of the taxes that we will collect,” Amaechi said.
On contribution of the port to GDP, Amaechi said it would contribute about 360billion dollars, which is not even enough to accomplish what is needed.
”The growth of the economy will put pressure on the expansion of the project.
”The argument we have in cabinet is that, the need for Lekki is as a result of the fact that the demand for port activities have exceeded the supply of Tin Can and Apapa ports around Lagos.
”We have more ports than the country needs for now because manufacturing is a big problem in Nigeria coupled with the fact that this is the first seaport in Nigeria.
”Right here you have 16.5meters drought which is good for the country but the country needs more than just one.
”This is because they no longer manufacture those 11meters vessels, they now go between 16meters and above. So, we need just more than Lagos deep seaport.
”And I think that is why for me, before I leave office I will emphasise on the construction of the Bonny deep Sea port.
The minister explained that the project, when completed would create more economic activities and jobs for teeming youths among other things.
Amaechi stated that measures were in place to ensure the ports were automated and of international standard.
”Everything is automated, from the gate till you get here. So you will see something close to what you have in DP wall in Dubai and what you have in Singapore,” he said.
On rail, Amaechi reiterated the need for a rail system that would convey both liquid and dry cargoes out of lagos through the ports, saying if this was not done there would be problem.
The minister also said that there was need for extension of the land to enable completion of the project and urged the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to discuss with the Lagos State government on the issue.
On his part, the Managing Director, NPA, Mohammed Koko, said the authority would continue to work to ensure the realisation of the project.
”So this is a port that is private and automated but NPA will also carry out its responsibilities,” Koko said.
The Seaport, which is the first in Nigeria would help decongest the Tin Can and Apapa Ports to evacuate laden containers.
The Lekki Deep Seaport Port, which is being constructed on a 90 hectares of land is based on build, own, operate and transfer arrangement.
It is also expected to have 16.5 meters draught, which is the deepest in Nigeria, and a projected capacity of 2.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units of containers per annum.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian’ Shippers’ Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime, has disclosed that dry ports would soon be completed and put to use as government intensifies efforts to broaden and diversify the country’s economy.
Jime said in Lagos that operations had begun in the Kaduna dry port while others had attained more than 80 per cent completion.
Some of the inland ports are located in Ibadan with 50,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEUs), Isiala Ngwa in Abia, 50,000 TEUs, Jos, 20,000 TEUs and Dala in Kano, with 20,000 TEUs.
Others are located in Funtua, Katsina State with 10,000 TEUs, and Maiduguri with 10,000 TEUs.
The dry ports are expected to serve as a catalyst for trade stimulation and economic development by bringing shipping services to the doorstep of shippers across the nation.
They are also expected to assist in decongesting the seaports and make them more user-friendly.
Jime, while referring to the dry ports as “very crucial to Nigeria’s economic success,” expressed satisfaction with the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements towards their completion and effective take-off.
He commended the efforts of the host state governments and concessionaires towards the speedy completion of the projects, urging all stakeholders to sustain the tempo.
Jime particularly commended the Plateau government for injecting funds into the Heipang dry port and expressed confidence that it would soon come to life.
“The state government’s effort is mitigating the funding gap. This is encouraging and commendable,” he said.
On the Ibadan dry port, Jime said that issues around the contract agreements, especially the payment of compensation, were being resolved to make way for its speedy completion.
He regretted, however, that most investors prefer areas with short-term turn around in profit making, saying that the situation had consistently created some funding challenge for the dry ports.
Jime said that the dry ports remain the remedy for the congestion in the seaports usually caused by challenges of infrastructure, articulated vehicles and persistent gridlock.
He expressed happiness with the “very dramatic progress” in the Dala dry port in Kano that is 80 per cent ready, while the Abuja dry port had also recorded appreciable progress.
He also thanked the Abia government for waking up to the need to play its crucial role in the development of the dry port at Isiala Ngwa, urging it to sustain the tempo.
Jime said that the NSC would continue to encourage the partnership with the states toward completing the dry ports in view of their relevance to the nation’s economic growth.
He also spoke on the need for an effective and efficient railway as a primary mode for long-distance haulage.
“A functional railway will assist in the overall costs of cargo to hinterland locations and transit cargoes to landlocked countries,” he pointed out.
He said that NSC was working toward building a robust partnership with the nation’s railway authorities so that all the dry ports would attain their potential when they come on stream.
The NSC boss said that the Council had been able to resolve lots of disputes among shippers, and attributed the feat to “our robust complaints unit.”
He said that most of the disputes bordered on financial issues like demurrage, port charges and other basic disagreements.