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FG Plans Massive Export With Lekki Deep Seaport

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Lekki Deep Seaport
  • FG Plans Massive Export With Lekki Deep Seaport

The Federal Government has announced plans to embark on massive exportation of goods using the Lekki Deep Seaport when it becomes operational in 2021.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo stated this on Thursday while inaugurating the Lekki Deep Seaport project in Lagos.

He explained that the development of the Lekki Deep Seaport was critical to the creation of special economic zones, which would serve as models for others across the country.

He said, “In the past two budgets, we have provided an average growth of N90bn for development of SEZs and we are developing the special Lekki economic zone as a model for other economic zones specifically targeting export.”

He noted that the ceremony was a landmark event towards driving the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery Growth Plan and the present administration’s emphasis on supporting game changing infrastructure projects directed at making major impact on trade and commerce

He said, “We were told by the promoters of this project that they are targeting about 1.5 million 20 feet equivalent unit container capacity annually, which we expect to grow to about 2.7 million and 4.7 million TEUs when the project operations commence. With this feat, the Lekki Deep Seaport will be one of the largest deep water seaports in our region and serve as a hub for port operations in the whole of West Africa.’

“We have been told that very large crude carriers will now be able to visit the port and greater efficiency and economies of scale will generate significant economic revenue for the Nigerian economy with the Federal Government earning a significant portion.”

According to him, the event was also a reflection of the government’s commitment to economic philosophy to private sector leadership to achieve economic development, stressing that the business of government is to contribute by way of equity where necessary, but more importantly, create the enabling environment for the private sector to do business.

“We must move ahead with ensuring the speedy completion of this project; there will be problems, but we assure you that the federal and state governments will be with you every step of the way to ensure that we give all the support required to make this dream come to fruition,” he stated.

Earlier, the Lagos State Governor, Akinwumi Ambode, represented by the Deputy Governor, Lagos State, Idiat Adebule, said the maritime sector had the potential to become a major revenue earner with significant contribution to the Gross Domestic Product of Nigeria.

He said the Lekki Deep Seaport had an adequate space for container storage with modern equipment to facilitate port operations and would tremendously relieve Apapa and Tincan ports of pressure.

He said the port would impact greatly on the development of the Lekki free trade zone while also commending the promoters of the project for their confidence in choosing Nigeria as an investment destination.

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said the Lekki seaport would be the first deep seaport in Nigeria and give the country the ability to receive very large crude carriers.

He added the ability to accommodate large vessels would the nation a regional hub.

“I hope this would help us generate outward cargoes because we have been having problems in raising outward cargoes. We must also work hard to make sure that we send out commodities to other countries.”

The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Usman, said the project was in line the with Federal Government’s commitment to promote private investment.

She said that the NPA fully paid share capital of five per cent, which was the minimum investment enough to give the private investor confidence, without having undue interference as a regulator.

She said the vision of the NPA was to provide an enabling environment for the operators, stressing that Nigeria being the largest exporter and importer of cargo in West Africa subregion required a deep seaport, which would receive large vessels.

“These big ships move cargo more efficiently. We will work with all stakeholders to see the deep seaport become a world-class facility,” she said.

The Managing Director, Tolaram Group, Haresh Aswani, said the project would change the future of the nation’s maritime sector and serve as a catalyst for economic development and the general well-being of Nigerians.

He said when completed, it would create about 170,000 direct and indirect jobs while also generating about N360bn under the concession including over N200m in tax revenue for both the Lagos State Government and Federal Government.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Computer Village Traders Demand Refunds as Lagos State Cancels Katangowa Project

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Traders at the renowned Computer Village in Lagos find themselves in a state of uncertainty following the abrupt termination of the multibillion-naira Katangowa project by the Lagos State Government.

The project, which was aimed at relocating the bustling tech market from its current site in Ikeja to the Agbado/Oke-Odo area of the state, has left traders in a state of limbo.

Despite the cancellation of the project reportedly occurring two years ago, traders claim they were not informed by either the government or the developers, Bridgeways Limited.

This lack of communication has left them in a precarious position, particularly concerning the substantial upfront payments made by some traders to the developers.

Chairman of the Computer Village Market Board, Chief Adebowale Soyebo, expressed dismay at the lack of communication from the authorities regarding the project’s termination.

He explained that neither the government nor the contractors had officially informed them of the decision, leaving traders in the dark about the fate of their investments.

Traders who had made payments to Bridgeways Limited now seek clarity on the refund process. The absence of official communication has compounded their concerns, with many uncertain about the fate of their investments.

While acknowledging the payments made by traders, Lagos State Governor’s Adviser on e-GIS and Urban Development, Dr. Olajide Babatunde, assured that the government would facilitate refunds.

He, however, said there is a need for proper identification and verification to ensure that affected traders receive their refunds accordingly.

The termination of the Katangowa project has reignited debates about the relocation of Computer Village.

Traders assert that the issue of relocation should not be raised until the new site is at least 70% completed, as per their agreement with the government.

The cancellation of the Katangowa project underscores the challenges associated with large-scale urban development projects and the importance of transparent communication between stakeholders to avoid such situations in the future.

As traders await further directives from the government, they remain hopeful for a resolution that safeguards their interests and ensures the continuity of one of Nigeria’s most prominent tech markets.

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Government Begins Disbursement of N200bn Support Fund to Manufacturers and Businesses

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The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has initiated the disbursement of the long-awaited N200 billion Presidential Conditional Grant Scheme.

This is the beginning of a vital phase in the government’s strategy to provide financial assistance to manufacturers and businesses across Nigeria.

The scheme, which is being administered through the Bank of Industry (BOI), has been divided into three categories of funding, totaling N200 billion.

The disbursement process comes after an exhaustive selection process and verification of applicants to ensure transparency and accountability in the allocation of funds.

Doris Aniete, spokesperson for the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, announced the progress in a statement posted on the trade minister’s official X (formerly Twitter) handle.

Aniete highlighted that verified beneficiaries have already started receiving their grants, signaling the beginning of the phased disbursement strategy.

“We are pleased to inform you that the disbursement process for the Presidential Conditional Grant Programme has officially commenced. Some beneficiaries have already received their grants, marking the beginning of our phased disbursement strategy,” stated Aniete.

She further disclosed that by Friday, April 19, a substantial number of verified applicants are set to receive significant disbursements.

However, Aniete emphasized that disbursements are ongoing, and not all applicants will receive their grants immediately, assuring that all verified applicants will eventually receive their grants in subsequent phases.

The initiation of the disbursement process comes after more than eight months since President Bola Tinubu announced the grant for manufacturers and small businesses.

The scheme aims to mitigate the adverse effects of recent economic reforms and foster sustainable economic growth by empowering businesses with financial support.

President Tinubu had outlined the government’s commitment to strengthening the manufacturing sector and creating job opportunities through the disbursement of N200 billion over a specified period.

The funding is intended to provide credit to 75 enterprises, each able to access up to N1 billion at a low-interest rate of 9% per annum.

However, the implementation of the programme has faced challenges, including delays and criticisms regarding the registration process.

Femi Egbesola, President of the Association of Small Business Owners, expressed concerns over the slow pace of data collation and suggested that genuine businesses were being discouraged from accessing the loans.

Despite the hurdles, the commencement of the disbursement process signifies a significant step forward in the government’s efforts to provide vital support to manufacturers and businesses, potentially revitalizing economic activities and driving growth across various sectors.

As beneficiaries begin to receive their grants, the impact of this initiative on the nation’s economic landscape is eagerly anticipated.

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MicroStrategy Rally Crushes Short Sellers, Wiping Out $1.92 Billion

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Short sellers betting against MicroStrategy found themselves facing significant losses as the company’s rally wiped out $1.92 billion since March.

This development comes amidst a rally that has seen MicroStrategy’s stock outperform bitcoin, causing a considerable hit to those who had taken a bearish stance on the tech firm.

According to data from S3 Partners, short sellers have been on the losing end since March, as MicroStrategy’s stock surged, highlighting the impact of the rally on those betting against the company’s success.

This loss underscores the challenges faced by short sellers in a market where certain stocks experience rapid and unexpected price increases.

The rally in MicroStrategy’s stock is attributed to several factors, including the approval of several spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier in the year.

This move by the SEC brought bitcoin, a once-nascent asset class, closer to the mainstream and fueled investor interest in companies like MicroStrategy, known for their significant holdings of the cryptocurrency.

MicroStrategy, which held nearly 190,000 bitcoin on its balance sheet as of the end of 2023, has indicated its intention to continue increasing its exposure to the digital currency.

The company’s decision to sell convertible debt to raise money for additional bitcoin purchases further bolstered investor confidence and contributed to the stock’s rally.

Analysts at BTIG noted that the premium for MicroStrategy’s stock reflects investors’ desire to gain exposure to bitcoin indirectly, especially those who may not have the means to invest directly in the cryptocurrency or ETFs.

The company’s ability to raise capital for bitcoin purchases is seen as a positive sign for shareholders, adding to the optimism surrounding its stock.

However, despite the recent rally and optimism surrounding MicroStrategy, the crypto industry as a whole continues to be heavily shorted.

Short interest in nine of the most-watched companies in the crypto space remains high, standing at 16.73% of the total number of outstanding shares, more than three times the average in the United States.

Moreover, concerns persist regarding the SEC’s stance on cryptocurrencies, with some experts suggesting that the approval of spot bitcoin ETFs may not necessarily indicate a broader acceptance of other similar products, such as spot ethereum ETFs.

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