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Chinese bank’s $629m changing the face of Lekki Seaport scheme—Sanwo-Olu
Reference to the vote of $629 million made by China Development Bank (CDB) on the Lekki Seaport project, the Lagos State Government has averred that the milestone will change the narrative of infrastructural financing in Nigeria and the state in particular.
The State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu said this in Lagos, while witnessing the signing of four agreements with Chinese bank
The loan was secured from the Chinese bank after China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), which owns majority shares in the project, signed a 45-year concessionary agreement with Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Ltd (LPLTZ) to complete the Phase 1 of the deep seaport project.
After completion, the deep seaport would have two container berths of 680-metre long and 16.5-metre water depth.
It will also have the capacity to be berthed by fifth generation container ships, which has a capacity of 18,000 TEU ship.
The Chairman of Lekki Port Board of Directors, Mr Biodun Dabiri, said that the development of the seaport was strategic for the growth of Lekki Free Trade Zone.
Governor Sanwo-Olu further explained that the funding deal was another milestone for the state in commerce, as the signing had ended period of uncertainty that had trailed the delivery of the Lekki Seaport project.
According to him, “The completion of the project would invigorate the Lagos economy and push it up in the index of largest economies in the world.”
“This is a new beginning for us in Lagos. We have achieved another milestone in our efforts to transform the state and accomplish the 21st century economy ambition.
“As a government, we are fully in support of the project. We will do all we can to ensure the terms of the agreements signed today are delivered within 30 months as agreed.
“We expect that the outcome will catalyse Lagos’ fifth largest economy and take it up more in the index of largest economies in years to come,” Sanwo-Olu said.
While revealing that in the coming weeks, more trade agreements would be signed with foreign investors, the Governor averred that his administration would continue to explore investments and partnerships that would accelerate growth and benefit residents of the state.
The 629 million dollars financing facility is to accelerate the completion of the Lekki Deep Seaport project, which started in 2011.
In his remarks, the CHEC chairman, Mr Lin Yichong, said that the Chinese engineering firm took interest to invest in the deep seaport to enable Nigeria strengthen its maritime infrastructure and business.
Yichong, who said that it was the first deep seaport that would ease pressure at Tin-Can Island and Apapa ports, added that the Phase 1 of the project would be built with annual handling capacity of 1.2 million TEU, and the capacity would be increased to 2.5 million TEU upon the completion of the second phase.
According to him, “After the completion of Lekki port would make it the first deep seaport in Nigeria and the container transportation hub in Africa.
“In the course of the construction of the project, it is expected that a huge number of employment opportunities would be generated for residents of Lagos.” he said.
The CDB Deputy General Manager, Mr Zhang Aijun, said the bank approved the loan, given the strategic importance of the project to Lagos’ economic growth.
Also, the Managing Director of Tolaram Group in Africa, Mr Haresh Aswani, commended the Lagos State Government for supporting the project since the beginning.