Badagry Free Trade Zone gets approval Developers of the new port of Badagry, Nigeria were awarded a license to develop the Badagry free trade zone (B
Badagry Free Trade Zone gets approval
Developers of the new port of Badagry, Nigeria were awarded a license to develop the Badagry free trade zone (BFTZ) named the Maritime Africa Economic City, on the site.
Some new port projects in Nigeria have been affected by the national economic recession and reduced trade volumes. Notwithstanding, new container handling capacity will be required in the long term, so the construction of the Badagry Free Trade Zone will likely go on.
Land Mass of the Badagry Free Trade Zone and Port
A total land mass of 1,100 hectares has been dedicated for the project, including the port and associated FTZ. It will be designed for industrial and manufacturing companies. Hopefully, the consortium will attract $2.5bn in investment.
The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority NEPZA awarded the licence aimed allowing investors to gain from tax concessions and the ability to send home all profits.
Badagry, which was first suggested by the federal government in 2005, is to be developed by APM Terminals along with several Nigerian private sector companies. Even in its initial stage, it will be double Apapa – Lagos’ current main container terminal with annual handling capacity of 1.8m TEU, or standard sized containers, a year.
To be built in the port are container, general cargo, fuel import and roll-on roll-off terminals with road and rail connections provided. Current Lagos ports have little room for expansion.
The plan of the government is that two new ports can be developed at Badagry and Lekki, 60km west and east of Lagos respectively.
The former will have a draught of 17m to allow access for the new generation of container vessels that are now starting to serve African ports. Developing it will give Nigeria a deepwater port at par with ports in Tema in Ghana, Lomé in Togo and Kribi in Cameroon.
“We intend to develop Maritime Africa Economic City into one of the most successful special economic zones in all of Africa. The benefits of having this approval are enormous for our clients and despite the current downturn in the economy; we are still fielding a lot of interest from domestic and foreign companies wanting to set up in Badagry.” – Patrick Bird, the director of Maritime Africa Economic City
As it is with all FTZs, a lot will depend on the scheme’s ability to attract anchor tenants that will motivate other investors to commit themselves once they see the big companies have signed up first.
New Port Developer
APM Terminals is one of the biggest port operators in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, the company behind the Lekki FTZ project is a newcomer to the region: Singapore’s Tolaram Group with a majority 61.8% stake in Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise. The Lagos State government has 20% and the Nigerian Ports Authority, 18.2% so the project should gain from official backing.
Total investment is put at $1.65bn, of which the African Development Bank is providing $150m and the European Investment Bank has already agreed to €160m.
Work on Lekki Free Trade Zone has already commenced but in November the Senate asked Tolaram to add a rail link to the venture.
“If you finish construction without a facility for rail, the project will have problems due to poor road management. We will not want what we are experiencing on port access roads in Lagos to occur in the Lekki-Epe area, because it is really affecting the system.” – Senate Committee chairman on Marine Transport, Ahmed Yerima
Tolaram has said it will discuss the options for including rail access with officials.