*Calls for speedy completion while offering FG’s full support
“The development of this deep sea port is mission critical to the achievement of the important objective of creating Special Economic Zones.
“It is the commitment of our economic philosophy to private sector leadership of our economic development efforts.
“Be assured that the Federal Government and the Lagos State government, will be with you (on this project) every step of the way to ensure that we give all the support required.”
SPEECH DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE FLAG-OFF OF THE LEKKI DEEP SEA PORT PROJECT AT IBEJU LEKKI, LAGOS STATE, ON THURSDAY, MARCH 29, 2018.
I am delighted to be here this morning for the flag-off of the Lekki Deep Sea Port Project.
This is a landmark project for several crucial reasons and the first is that the promoters of this project are targeting about 1.5 million, Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) container capacity annually, which they expect to grow to about 2.7 million and 4.5 million TEUs when the project operations commences.
With this fit, Lekki port will become one of the largest deep water ports in our region, and serve as a hub for port operations in the whole of West Africa. There is no question at all that the project will be the sort of project that the promoters have said that it will be, and with all of the plans that they have for developing it, we expect that it will be the largest in Africa.
It is expected that the project construction, once completed, will influence the generation of up to about 170,000 direct and indirect new jobs in the economy.
The promoters, I am told, also plan to dredge the port channel to about 16 meters draught, which is not currently obtainable in any sea port in the country. This, in itself, is an indication that ships of larger sizes, I’m told, very large crude carriers, will visit the port and greater efficiency and economy of scale will generate significant revenues for the Nigerian economy, with government earning a significant portion of it.
The second reason why this, for us, is a landmark event is, with respect to our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, its emphasis on supporting game-changing infrastructure projects directed at making major impact on trade and commerce.
In the past two budgets, we have provided an aggregate of about N90 billion for the development of Special Economic Zones. We are developing the Lekki Special Economic Zones as a model Special Economic Zone specifically targeting exports. The development of this deep sea port is mission critical to the achievement of the important objective of creating these Special Economic Zones.
So, the third reason is the commitment of our economic philosophy to private sector leadership of our economic development efforts. This project is essentially private sector driven. The Toleram group and China Harbour are, of course, the lead private sector participants in this project. And as you have heard, their commitment to this project is total and we have seen the different scenarios of this project, they have driven it to this point with great tenacity and I must commend and congratulate them.
The Nigerian Ports Authority and Lagos State Government are the public sector partners in this project. The business of government is to contribute by way of equity where necessary, to projects of this size, but more importantly to create the enabling environment for the private sector to do business.
While commending all the parties to this landmark project, I want to commend very specially the Honourable Minister of Transportation, whose zeal has continued to drive this project; he keeps talking about it all the time. In the cabinet he talks about it all the time, so I want to commend him for the way he has pushed this project.
Let me say that we must move ahead to ensure the speedy completion of this project. There will be problems as I am sure you have experienced some, but be assured that the Federal Government and the Lagos State government, will be with you every step of the way to ensure that we give all the support required.
Let me, therefore, on this note, before we get to the cutting of ribbons once again congratulate everyone involved in this project.
God Bless you.