The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) has pledged support for the Lekki Deep Seaport in Lagos.
Its Acting Director-General, Chidi Izuwah, made the promise during a visit to the project site.
He said on completion in 2020, the port would position Nigeria as a hub for port operations in the West African sub-region in 2020.
Describing the Lekki Deep Seaport as the largest in the region, the ICRC chief said the project, when operational, would create over 170,000 direct and indirect new jobs as well as contribute positively to the revenue drive of the Federal and Lagos State governments.
said the promoters of the project were targeting about 1.5 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) container capacity yearly, which they expect to grow to about 2.7 million and 4.5 million TEUs.
Izuwah explained that the promoters of the project planned to dredge the port channel to 16-metre draught, which is not obtainable in any seaport in the country, adding that this, in itself, was an indication that larger ships would visit the port andthis would generate more revenue for the economy.
He however expressed concerns that several years after the execution of the contract, the concessionaire was yet to attain financial closure on the project as a result of certain contingent challenges.
“The project promoters had earlier planned to attain financial close by second quarter, 2016 and commence full operations by second quarter, 2019 therby giving a pariod of three years for the construction work.
‘’We, at ICRC, firmly believe that if all parties to this contract demonstrate utmost commitment toward this project, the goals and wonderful picture painted above will become a reality in less than three years.
“Bearing in mind the enormous work which has already been done by the project promoters and the quantum of resources committed to the course, I promise that the ICRC under my leadership will go above and beyond the call of duty to assist you reach financial close. We are willing to join you on focused lender/investor roadshows to seek additional debt and equity capital,”he added.
The acting DG promised to play a key role in driving the creation of an inter- government and agency high impact team to solve son of the project’s immediate problems like a high capacity evacuation and goods arriving at the ports will be evacuated flawlessly and efficiently.
“We have gone too far on the project, so we can’t afford to fail or slow down. If we fail to lay a good foundation for the upcoming generation, not only will posterity hold us accountable, but you and I will not be able to sleep peacefully at night with our eyes closed,” Izuwah said.
The concession agreement for Lekki Port was signed on April 21, 2011 by Nigerian Ports Authority, (NPA), the Lagos State Government and Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise.