From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos
Managing Director, Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM), Mr Robert Orya, has said Nigeria will be a major beneficiary of the sealink initiative by the time it is fully on ground,
Orya said that Nigerian products are in African countries, adding that the coming of the sealink is expected to facilitate and promote Nigerian products within and outside the continent.
Orya speaking to newsmen said the Return on Investment (RoI) in the country is between 30 and 35 per cent, adding that it is the highest in the world.
According to him, the Sealink Project is a major step in deepening trade within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region and a significant step in enhancing the trade flows of the ECOWAS member-states to create jobs.
Other benefits, according to him, are to promote increased trade flows and opportunities for the people, considering the huge capital flight from the region through the absence of sea trade infrastructure.
Orya explained that by the time the project is fully completed, it will encourage and enhance Small and Medium Enterprises’ (SMEs) businesses because there will be market for their products outside the country.
Orya said the funding requirement for the regional project which is $60 million, will soon be met as more investors have shown interest.
He said the project is in line with the Transformation Agenda of the government, which projects investments in roads, railways, inland waterways, ports and airports development in collaboration with various stakeholders to evolve a multimodal, integrated sustainable transport system. Emphasis will be on rail and waterways, through an effective Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, he added.
Orya lamented that it is more expensive to move goods from Lagos to Accra or Douala, Cameroon, than to move the same goods from China to Nigeria.
He said: “It is less expensive to carry a container from China to Lagos. It costs about $3,500 to move products from Lagos to Douala while it costs about $2,500 to move the same products from China to Lagos. If you want to take goods to Tema ports from Nigeria by road, it takes six days with a lot of hassles but if you want to move it by sea, it takes 60 days because you will use European vessels to take the goods to Europe first and then bring it back to Ghana. However, with Sealink, it will take between one and two days.
“So, a quick-win solution for us is to set up a maritime shipping company since most ECOWAS and central African countries are coastal countries. That way will liberate our countries and our businessmen and help them to keep the margins of their businesses instead of paying it to European shipping companies.”