The promoters of the Lekki Deep seaport, Tolaram group have explained that the process of project financing to enable a number of international financial institutions to fund the project has been one of the reasons why the project has its operational date shifted many times.
The project was proposed to begin operations in 2102 but later shifted to 2015 and then to 2018.
Speaking in Lagos over the weekend, Chief Financial Officer of the group, Sandeep Prasramka said, “I would not say we faced any challenges but the process of project financing to enable a number of international financial institutions to fund the project is bound to be time consuming. Most project face delays from the time of their conceptualization to implementation and we are no exception.
“However, now we are quite close to implementation i.e. starts of construction. From this milestone, timelines are contractually agreed and legally binding on various parties to start operations hence we do not expect substantial changes in schedule going forward.”
Praaramka said the group expected that the port would handle its first one million TEUs before the first quarter of the second year of its operations and should be operating at its full capacity of 2.5 millionTEUs within six or seven years of operations.
The CFO also debunked rumors of alleged controversies surrounding the equity of Lagos State government in the project.
His words, “There are no controversies surrounding Lagos State’s equity. According to the Federal Executive Council approval given to the project on 4 Dec 2013, Lagos State Government (LASG) and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) will hold 18.15% and 20% equity respectively in the project. Private Consortium of investors led by the Tolaram Group will hold the remaining 61.8%.
“A Shareholders’ Agreement has already been signed between NPA, LASG and Tolaram to this effect. In fact, cash towards LASG state’s equity contribution has already been put into the accounts of LPLE to be utilized in payments to the contractor after the start of construction activities on ground.”