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    Senate Wants Rail Built Into $1.65bn Lekki Deep Seaport



    Lagos – The Senate Committee on Marine Transport has suggested that the Tolaram Group, sponsors of the Lekki Deep Seaport, should include rail transportation in their construction works to avoid gridlock along the port access road.

    The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Ahmed Yerima, made the suggestion during an oversight function of the committee and a visit to Lekki deep seaport on Monday in Lagos. He said that rail should have been included in the port project, adding that the Talaram Group could still include it “since the project is still under construction”.

    “If you finish construction without facility for railway, the project will be having problem due to poor road management.

    “We will not want what we are experiencing on port access roads in Lagos to occur in Lekki, Epe area, because it is really affecting the system,’’

     NAN quotes Yerima as saying.

    He said that the committee would ensure that the operations of the NPA were in accordance with the law of the National Assembly.

     “We are working to ensure the operators of the NPA are working in accordance with the law,’’ NAN quotes the lawmaker as saying. Yerima said the committee would ensure that additional agreement did not violate the laws of the country. He said that the Senate approved the budget of NPA, adding that there was need to ensure the budget is implemented according to the law.

     The Senator, representing Adamawa North, Binta Masi-Garba, emphasised on the need to base their projection on the expanse of the land. Masi-Garba said that Lekki Deep sea project would be involved more in oil carriage, adding that, this was the reason why the operators of the deep seaport should have future plan for expansion.

     She stressed the need for quality infrastructure for future maintenance.

    The Director of Lekki Deep Sea Port, Mr John Mastrondes, said the company was committed to embarking on the deep seaport project to cost $1.65 billion dollars. He said that the initiative came up in 2008. Mastrondes said the Federal Government was supporting the project through the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) as well as the Lagos State Government.

    He said that their finances were not affected by foreign exchange but noted that the company went through little challenges and now hope to complete the seaport project, which would take off in November 2016 and end in Nov. 2019.

    Mastrondes said that railway was one of the most important means of transportation, saying that it was excluded in the plan due to poor rail management in the country.

     “We have been talking extensively on railway system but we will continue the discussion with NPA on how to include it on our project.

     “ I was born and brought up in Nigeria and I wish to see the beginning of this project because it will not only boost the economy of Nigeria but also create wealth to the people in the community. “There is a letter forwarded to us from Lagos State Government to start construction of two roads connection with express way.

     “ Public Private Partnership will also support the first road development,” NAN quotes Mastrondes as saying. The Managing Director of NPA, Ms Hadizah Usman, commended the efforts of the committee and their commitment to ensure proper operations of NPA. Usman said that the relationship existing between the National Assembly and the Senate Committee would be strengthened as a result of their commitment.

     She said that adequate information would be available to the committee as they embark on their functions to enable them have on-the-spot reports. NAN reports that Tolaram Group of Singapore, is the sponsor for Lekki Deep Sea Port.

    The group is one of the leading companies in Africa with diversified interests in Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), energy, infrastructure, distribution, logistics, digital services, paper and textiles. The Lagos Free Trade Zone Company (LFTZC) is fully owned by Tolaram Group and is registered under the NEPZA Act to develop and operate the Lagos Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) and Lekki Deep Sea Port will be located within the LFTZ.

     The Lagos Free Trade Zone is being developed as a multi-product and logistics hub for the entire West African Region. The LFTZ is strategically located 60km East of Lagos, the zone is well connected by road, sea and by air.

     When fully developed, the zone will be spread over an area of 805 hectares and will house a number of petroleum and petrochemical complexes, agri-commodities and other manufacturing industries. The seaport, which is being developed by a consortium of Tolaram Group, the NPA and the Lagos State Government, among other strategic investors, would be the deepest seaport in Sub-Saharan Africa when completed.

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