President Muhammadu Buhari has commissioned the $1.5 billion Lekki Deep Seaport expected to generate over $361 billions to the nation’s economy.
The president, during commissioning of the project in Lagos on Monday, stated that the port will become a major trade hub in West Africa, creating over 190,000 jobs for Nigerians.
The Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who described the project as the biggest infrastructure in the whole of West Africa, said it would surely generate thousands of jobs in the country.
Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the multi- billion naira project is a collaboration between the Federal Government and Lagos State government as well as the private stakeholders. He expressed joy that the execution of the project which took off under Buhari’s administration was completed during his tenure.
The governor stated further that the vessels that will berth at the deep port will be four times the size of the vessels that berth in Tin Can and Apapa.
On his part, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Muhammed Bello-Koko, said that the port will attract bigger vessels and more cargoes, as well as reduce the cost of doing business in Nigeria, compared to other countries.
The NPA boss added that the port will be more efficient and be a model for other upcoming deep sea ports in the country, adding that Authority has already gone ahead to purchase the necessary equipment to ensure safe and secured berthing of vessels.
“While sitting here we already have interest from a certain neighboring country that is already talking about moving their cargoes from Lekki to Kano then to the African country because they have seen the opportunity of smooth operations here and the efficiency”, he said.
The Chairman, China Harbour Engineering Company ( CHEC), Mr. Tang Qiaoliang, said that the port is a major trade hub in West Africa, which will improve the Nigerian port industry, ease the burden of cargo shipment flow, create employments, and ultimately promote international trade in the nation.
He explained that the company sees the opportunity in Nigeria, and believe in its potential, which is why it committed adequate financial investments and essential technology in the construction and operation of the port.
Qiaoliang noted that under the framework of the China Africa Forum and the Belt and Road Initiative, the company looks forward to establishing long-term strategic partnerships in the infrastructure sector with the Federal Government.
He pointed out that the project will ultimately deepen the relations and cooperation between Nigeria and China, better serving the Nigerian people and its economy.
Chairman of Tolaram Group, Mohan Vaswani, said that the completion and commissioning of the world-class port is an important milestone that will increase the economic well-being of Nigeria and its people.
The Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime, said that the council will be monitoring and ensure efficiency and the quality of service that will be delivered at the port.
He highlighted that the council will also monitor and ensure the cost of doing business in the port will be the lowest.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Dr. Lola Akande, stated that the port is an integral part of the free trade zone and will complement existing port infrastructure in the state and the country at large.
According to her, the deep port will further strengthen Lagos State as the hub of maritime in Africa.