Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has explained how the Lekki Deep Seaport will benefit Nigerians and the nation’s economy.
Professor Osinbajo spoke on Thursday at the official flag-off ceremony for the construction of the port in Lagos, the nation’s commercial capital.
He said the Federal Government was informed that the project targets about 1.5 million 20-foot equivalent unit container capacity annually, and is expected to increase to as high as about 4.7 million when the project operations commence.
The Vice President was optimistic that with this feat, the port would become one of the largest deep-water ports in West Africa and serve as a hub for port operations in the whole of the sub-region.
He added that once completed, the government expects the port to influence the generation of up to 170,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Nigerian economy.
Osinbajo stressed further that the promoters of the project also plan to dredge the port channel to about 16 metres draft, one that is not currently obtainable in any seaport or any port in the country.
According to him, this is an indication that ships of larger sizes and very large crude carriers will be able to visit the port while greater efficiency and economy of scale will generate significant revenues for the Nigerian economy, with government earning a significant portion of it.
The Vice President believes the construction of the port would also enhance the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), and its emphasis on supporting game-changing infrastructural projects directed at making major impacts in trade and commerce sector.
He revealed that the Federal Government has provided an aggregate of about N90bn for the development of special economic zones in its last two budgets.
“We are developing the Lekki special economic zone as a model special economic zone specifically targeting exports. The development of this deep seaport is mission critical to the achievement of the important objectives of creating a special economic zone,” he said.
While noting that project is essentially private sector driven, Professor Osinbajo said the government remains committed to its economic philosophy of private sector leadership in its economic development effort.
The commended the state government and other promoters of the project, as well as the Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Amaechi, whom he said his zeal has continued to drive the project.
He also assured the stakeholders that the Federal and state governments would be ready to provide necessary support to ensure the completion of the project.
The event was also attended by the deputy governor of Lagos State, Dr Idiat Adebule; and the Ministers of Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, among others.