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Lekki Port: Investors snub NPA’s N31.6bn equity



Bayo Akomolafe

One and half years after, investors are yet to take up 20 per cent of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) equity in Lekki Deep Seaport project in Lagos.
The Authority had, in 2016, decided to drop part of its equity after paying $23 million out N39.9 billion ($110.9 million).
China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), which indicated interest to take up the remaining N31.6 billion ($87.9 million) balance of the equity in 2017, is yet to do so.
It was gathered that the Authority’s poor response of fulfilling its share mandate has already caused a setback for the development of the seaport project.
Last year, one of the investors in the project, International Container Terminal Services Incorporation (ICTSI) withdrew its N85.5 billion ($225 million) from the $1.5 billion public private partnership project.
The project, which was slated for completion in 2016 to enable ICTSI handle the port’s container terminal with a 2.5 million Twenty Equivalent Unit (TEU) and 10,000 TEU container ships, had been scuttled thrice.
It was gathered that the Tolaram Group, the core investor of the project, first shifted its operational date from 2016 to 2017, later to 2018 and 2019.
The shareholders’ agreement was signed by the core sponsors, Tolaram Group, NPA and the Lagos State government in December 2012.
Already, Lagos State government has paid up its 18.15 per cent equity in the deep seaport project, but NPA with 20 per cent equity still owe N31.6 billion ($87.9 million).
The state government had monetised its 20 per cent equity through the land it offered for the project.
It was gathered that after the Authority paid $23 million out of $110.9 million in 2016, nothing has been paid.
Lekki Deep Seaport is a tripartite project among Lekki Port Enterprise Limited, NPA and the Lagos State government.
The equities in the seaport included 20 per cent for NPA, 18.15 per cent for Lagos State government and 61.85 per cent for the lead promoter of the project, Lekki Port Enterprise Limited.
The project is expected to create about 169,972 direct and indirect jobs and generate revenue worth $190 billion to the state and federal agencies in form of taxes, royalties and duties.
According to Acting Director General of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Chidi Izuwah, Lagos State government has paid up its equity while NPA only paid $23 milion out of the $110.9 million of its equity.
It was learnt that the refusal to fund the project was as a result of the decision of NPA Managing Director, Hadiza Usman, to scale down the Authorities’ share in the project.
It would be recalled that the managing director had complained in 2016 that its level of equity in the project was too high.

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