…Says Project Must Be Operational by 2022
By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has summoned the promoters of the Lekki Deep Seaport, Tolaram Group as well as China Harbour Engineering Company Limited to Abuja for a written and verbal agreement, to assure that the project is completed and commercial commercial activities commence by 2022.
Amaechi gave this new ultimatum during a monitoring visit to the Lekki Deep Sea Port site on Sunday, November 22, 2020.
The Lekki Deep Sea Port Project, slated to be Sub-Saharan Africa’s deepest port and Nigeria’s first deep seaport is located at the Lagos Free Zone, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos.
The minister who led a highly powered delegation that comprised of the Board Chairman, Managing Director and all Executive Directors of the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Director General, Budgets of the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council as well as Directors of the Ministry said he was fifty percent impressed with the pace of the project.
“Our agreement is that commercial activities would start by 2022, so I need to see you people in my office, so that we can put it in writing that commercial activities would start here in 2022, I want to be part of the commissioning”
“We agreed that the government of president Buhari would come to an end by 2023, and that we would commence commercial activities by 2022, this agreement took place in Singapore, I now want it in writing”
“The seaport is not in the construction but the operations, we must tie them (promoters) to a verbal and written agreement that says that this place would be ready in 2022, there are hitches here and there, including Covid-19, but these are hitches you get in terms of any construction”
“They would be tied to the terms of the contract, though anything could go wrong again” the Minister stated.
According to Amaechi, there are four deep seaports projects that the federal government is constructing under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
These are; Lekki Deep Seaport, Bonny Deep seaport, as well as Warri and Ibom Seaports.
Amaechi stated that the federal government expects these projects to be completed within the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We expect that even if they are not completed by 2022, at least, they should be at completion stages by 2023”
While urging the promoters to ensure timely delivery of the project, the Minister assured Nigerians that the Buhari-led administration is fully committed to lending all necessary support as the project holds the key to Nigeria’s economic growth.
“The Federal Government cannot wait to see the project completed given the economic potentials that lie in wait,” he said.
“As a government, we are fully aware of what the project means to grow the economy. No doubt, the completion and eventual take-off of the Port for business operations would create thousands of jobs which would consequently boost GDP growth.” he said
In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited, Du Ruogang welcomed the Honourable Minister and his delegation to the Lekki Deep Sea Port and assures him and all stakeholders that notwithstanding the delays occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, he is very confident and assures all the stakeholders that Lekki Port will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the project is completed and delivered on schedule and to the set standard.
“We are grateful to our Honourable Minister for finding time to visit the site to assess the level of progress made on the project,” Ruogang said.