By Ignatius Ushie
The Minister of Transportation, HE, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, has said the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ), at Ibeju Lekki area of Lagos State would contribute about $360 billion to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually.
Amaechi who made the disclosure after inspection of the project added that Nigeria needs more money from the Port, which he described as the first Sea Port, as Tin Can and Apapa were mere River Ports.
According to him, the Lekki Port, which is expected to be the deepest port in Sub-saharan Africa, is a privately funded project, being promoted by Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited with federal government playing the role of landlord.
“By September 3022 that we agreed they should commence commercial activities. We are talking with Lagos State government let us see how to relocate them because the need for extension will be under-stated if we ignore it. Now they are 5000 persons, we need to have discussion with the community, with the Lagos State government and make provision for their relocation. Ameachi said.
“This is a privately funded project. But, over time they will collect their revenue from commercial activities before they hand over to the federal government through Nigerian Ports Authority NPA. But obviously, taxes will be collected here.
Responding to a question, the Minister was not certain about Tax exemption noting that Tax is part of Revenue Generation for the government.
“I am not sure there is any tax exemption. And we must say too that the confidence in giving them the project is because of the taxes that we will collect here that will help in construction of other projects”.
On the Calabar rail and other projects under his supervision, the Minister said “I imagine quite a lot of things and I wish I could implement them. I imagine that the Lagos – Calabar rail should start from here. That is my imagination. But Lagos – Calabar rail project is $11.1 billion and we don’t know where that money is going to come from, so as Minister of Transport, I will start from Benin to Port Harcourt, then to Calabar.
“It is only when we finish that we are going to think about how to come from Benin to Lagos, because there is already a rail from Lagos to Kano. So for me, that makes economic sense. Another advice I could give is that if they want to invest, they could invest in rail. And then, the government should either do tax deduction or something to help pay them back. But for now, government does not have money” he said.