Lekki Deep Seaport to Commence Operations in Q1 2023
By Adedapo Adesanya
Commercial operations at the Lekki Deep Seaport at the Lagos Free Zone (LFZ) will commence in the first quarter of 2023, says Mr Dinesh Rathi, the company’s CEO.
It was also projected that more than 170,000 direct and indirect job opportunities would be created for residents of Lagos when the deep seaport is completed.
Mr Rathi, while speaking with the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Friday, disclosed that Tolaram Group, a Singaporean company, initiated a $2 billion investment in the Lagos Free Zone, with $950 million committed to developing a manufacturing hub in the zone.
“When the deep seaport is completed, besides that the maritime project was expected to generate more than 170,000 direct and indirect job opportunities for Lagos residents, it would serve as an alternative in an effort to decongest the federal government-owned seaports in Apapa,” he told Mr Sanwo-Olu.
About the Lekki Deep Seaport
The Governor and members of the state’s cabinet embarked on a two-day working tour of the three free trade zones established in Ibeju Lekki area of Lagos.
The project commenced in 2017 under the immediate past administration of Mr Akinwunmi Ambode and it is being constructed by the China Habour Engineering firm.
It is occupying 90 hectares of the entire 830 hectares of land carved out for the Lagos Free Zone. The zone was created in 2012 to enhance the economic position of Lagos as a manufacturing and logistics hub in West Africa.
The first phase of the seaport project, which is being financed by a $629 million facility from China Development Bank (CDB), is at 48 per cent completion.
After going through the project master plan, Mr Sanwo-Olu said his administration remains committed to delivering the project, stressing that the deep seaport and other investments happening on the corridor had the potential to increase the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in multiple folds.
He said: “Given the report I got and what I have seen here, I can say that Lagos Free Zone has made tremendous improvement. We have seen the level of partnership Tolaram Group is bringing in terms of international investment and local brands on this corridor.
“I commend all stakeholders that are with us on this journey we have found ourselves. With the level of work we have seen, I’m truly excited. It is more gratifying that we are taking up this assignment with all energies required and we all can see what we can achieve when we work together.
“Since we signed a loan agreement less than 18 months ago, we have demonstrated strong capability in bringing the project to reality. This is the first quarter of 2021 and we have seen the project in about 48 per cent completion. The investors have given us the commitment to the first quarter of the 2023 completion date. We will fulfil all our parts to make sure this date becomes reality.”
Mr Sanwo-Olu, who noted that he had been part of the conversation for the development of the free zones as a Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in 2006, said his administration has recorded significant progress in bringing the projects to reality.
The Governor said the priority accorded to the construction of complementary infrastructure projects along the corridor was a demonstration of his government’s fulfilment of its pledge to Lagos residents. He promised the state would work with the timeline to ensure all projects mapped out in the zones are deliver.
He further said the size of the deep seaport will allow 18,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) capacity vessels, which are four times bigger than the ones berthing at Apapa seaports, thereby scaling down the cost of container transportation from any part of the world.
Mr Sanwo-Olu said: “The interesting part is that our youths and young women will be the beneficiaries of this project. The project managers have engaged a large number of our citizens in the construction parts of the work; all personnel are not expatriates. All the technical work and technology deployed have a local component to them.
“For us a government, this is the strongest point we have made with the project. I am fully convinced that the delivery of this project will transform the commercial architecture of West Africa and bring about quick turnaround time in the maritime sector.”
Project receives commendation
Chairman of Lagos Free Zone Development Company, Mr Biodun Dabiri, hailed the state government for its commitment towards changing the face of commerce in Africa, stressing that all statutory permits, licences and endorsement for the Lekki port project were already secured.
“There is a strong guarantee that the port will be delivered before time, going by the inflow of capital investment and technical services,” Mr Dabiri said.
The Governor and his entourage also visited Africa’s second-largest manufacturing plant of Kellogg Tolaram, manufacturer of cornflakes, which is built in Lagos Free Zone. The Governor toured the processing unit of the firm and inspected the production chain.
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Seplat Sues Co-founder Orjiako, Amaze Limited to Protect Shareholders, Others
By Dipo Olowookere
A legal action has been instituted against the co-founder of Seplat Energy Plc, Mr A.B.C. Orjiako, by the indigenous energy company at the Federal High Court in Abuja over breaches of an agreement between them.
A statement issued by Seplat disclosed that the organisation entered into a consultancy deal with Mr Orjiako, through his firm, Amaze Limited.
According to the disclosure, which was made pursuant to Rule 17.10 of the Rulebook of the Nigerian Exchange Limited, 2015, also known as issuer’s rule, Mr Orjiako failed to do something about the alleged breaches after his attention was called to infractions.
As a result, Seplat Energy terminated the “consultancy agreement between the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary and its co-founder, Dr. A.B.C Orjiako, acting through Amaze Limited” with immediate effect and is seeking “appropriate legal remedies.”
“Under the consultancy agreement, Dr Orjiako was obliged to provide defined assistance with certain external stakeholder engagements following his retirement from the board after the 2022 Annual General Meeting in May 2022,” a part of the notice stated.
It was further noted that the board of directors of the organisation “unanimously approved” the termination of the contract “following repeated warnings about breaches of a material nature, such as unilaterally making significant commitments on Seplat’s letterhead without prior board authority or knowledge.”
It explained that the suit “was necessary to protect the company and its shareholders, directors, and officers from potential and increasing liability arising from the conduct of the consultants, Dr Orjiako and Amaze Limited.
“Seplat Energy reiterates its commitment to high standards of corporate governance across all areas of its business. The matter is now sub judice and awaiting resolution by the court,” the statement noted.
FAAC Allocation to FG, States, LGs in March Shrinks to N722.7bn
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The amount shared to the three tiers of government, the federal government, state governments, and local governments, by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), decreased in March 2023 from the money distributed in February.
A communique issued on Wednesday after the FAAC meeting in Abuja disclosed that N722.7 billion was disbursed from the revenue generated by the country last month compared with the N750.2 billion shared in February.
A breakdown showed that the total distributable revenue of N722.677 billion comprised distributable statutory revenue of N366.800 billion, distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N224.232 billion, Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) of N11.645 billion and N120.000 billion Augmentation from Forex Equalisation Account.
In the disclosure signed by the Director of Press and Public Relations of the Office of the Account-General of the Federation (OAGF), Mr Bawa Mokwa, it was disclosed that in February, Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT), Companies Income Tax (CIT), Oil and Gas Royalties, Import and Excise Duties all decreased significantly while Value Added Tax (VAT) and Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) decreased marginally.
Explaining how the money was disbursed, FAAC said from the N722.677 billion, the federal government received N269.063 billion, the state governments got N236.464 billion, and the local councils were given N173.936 billion, while N43.214 billion was shared to the oil-producing states as 13 per cent derivation revenue.
Further, from the N366.800 billion distributable statutory revenue, the federal government received N178.683 billion, the state governments received N90.630 billion, and the local government councils received N69.872 billion, with relevant states getting N27.614 billion as 13 per cent derivation revenue.
In addition, from the distributable N224.232 billion from VAT, the federal government received N33.635 billion, the state governments received N112.116 billion, and the local councils received N78.481 billion.
The statement also said N11.645 billion Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) was distributed as follows: the Federal Government received N1.747 billion, the State Governments received N5.822 billion, and the Local Government Councils received N4.076 billion.
From the N120.000 billion Augmentation, the Federal Government received N54.998 billion, the State Governments received N27.896 billion, the Local Government Councils received N21.506 billion, and a total sum of N15.600 billion was shared to the relevant States as 13 per cent of mineral revenue.
In February 2023, the total deductions for the cost of the collection were N27.449 billion, and total deductions for transfers, savings, recoveries and refunds were N109.909 billion, while the balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) was $473,754.57, the same amount it had remained since December 2022.
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