LAGOS- Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, Sunday, said the Nigerian economy will get a boost of about $360 bn from the Lekki deep seaport in 45 years, when the project is completed.
Amaechi stated this in Lagos, Sunday, shortly after inspecting ongoing work at the project cite.
The privately funded project, Amaechi noted is expected to allow investors recoup their money after which they will handover the seaport to the federal government.
“The project will contribute about $360 billion over the years. It sounds much, but we actually need more of that money to accomplish what we want to achieve.
“But obviously taxes will be collected here and even them (contractors) will pay taxes. I am not sure there was any taxes mentioned in the agreement, but I doubt there is any tax exemption.
“So, we will collect taxes here, the confidence in giving them the project is because of the taxes that we will collect here that will help us in the construction of other projects”.
Speaking on the need to expand the seaport, Amaechi said the port was not spacious enough to deal with expected rise in economic activities in the future.
“It also depends on how much the economy will grow before then. The growth of the economy will put pressure on the expansion. The argument we had in cabinet is that the need for a deep seaport at Lekki was as a result of the fact that the demand for port activities in the country has exceeded the supply of Tincan and Apapa around Lagos.
“This is the first seaport in Nigeria. What we had all these while are river ports , Tincan is a river port, Apapa is a river port and port Harcourt too. Right here, you have 16.5 metres drafts which is good for the country, but the country needs more than just one of this port because of the increase in commercial activities in the future.
“We need just more than Lagos deep seaport and for me before I leave office, I will emphasize on the construction of the Bonny deep seaport” he added.
Amaechi expressed his willingness to connect the Lekki deep seaport to a rail line, lamenting however that paucity of funds remain a challenge.
“As Minister of Transportation, I imagine a lot of things that I could have implemented. I imagined that the Lagos-Calabar rail line would start from here, that was my imagination. But the Lagos-Calabar rail project needs $11.1 billion funding”, adding that there were no such funds at the moment for the project.
“Another advice I could give is if they (contractors) want to invest, they can invest in rail and then the government will either do tax reduction or do something to help them.
“If we get the $11.1billion as it is, we would probably have to divert the rail line, because Lagos-Calabar rail line actually goes into Lagos city. We can divert it to come to the seaport in Lekki, ” he added.
Amaechi expressed optimism that the project would be ready for commercial activities in September this year.
China Development Bank, Louis Berger International, China Harbour Engineering LFTZ Enterprise and China Communication Construction are the contractors handling the project.