The long-proposed Lekki Port may remain the mere wishful thinking of its promoters, as banks and major financial institutions in the country have continued to shun proposals for its funding, investigations by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY have revealed.
Investigations revealed that due to growing skepticism over the viability of the proposed Lekki Port Project, coupled with the inexperience of its promoters, Tolaram Group in port operations, banks in the country are wary of providing it with much needed financial life-line.
While Tolaram Group, founded in India by one late Khanchand Vaswani, has been in existence since 1948, it is not known to be involved in developing any port project or running a port terminal in any part of the world.
The lack of experience of the promoters of the Lekki Port Project has also remained a major setback in attracting financing.
Since inception, Tolaram Group has been involved in manufacturing, marketing, distribution, sales and services, according to information posted on its website.
About four years ago, the management of the proposed port had promised that the facility would commence operations in 2012, but that has failed to happen.
Two years ago, 2013 was touted as the commencement date, but, again, that has failed to materialise.
The new date being sold to the public for commencement of operations of the port by its management is 2015, but the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, has said that it would be difficult to put a definite date on the commencement of operation of the port.
Fashola confirmed the fears of stakeholders over the fate of the project penultimate Thursday when he asserted that paucity of funds has been a major challenge undermining the prompt development of the Lekki Seaport and the Lekki International Airport.
Fashola, who spoke at the second edition of the Lagos Corporate Assembly tagged BRF Meets Business held at the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ), said that it was difficult to give timeline for the completion of the Lekki Seaport Project, due to, according to him, paucity of capital.
“We cannot give a timeline for the completion of the sea port. But work is ongoing. The contractor is already on site”, Fashola said.
With several multi-billion dollar projects having been promoted in Nigeria during the last decade that never came to fruition, stakeholders are concerned that, after more than five years in development so far, Lekki Port will bear the same fate.
SHIPS & PORTS DAILY recalls that the National Coordinator of the Local Content Shipping Group, Dr. Martins Enebeli, had criticised siting of the deep seaport project in Lekki.
Enebeli described the Lekki Port Project as a waste of funds.
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