By Emma Ujah
The Sealink initiative of the Nigeria Export Import Bank (NEXIM) to boost trade within Economic West African Sates (ECOWAS) sub-region through shipping of goods would commence operations before the end of the year, at an estimated cost of $61.5m.
The management consultant of the project, Mr. Tidiane Traore, disclosed this at a meeting of the bank and the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce (FEWACC) in Abuja on Wednesday.
According to him, for trade to be facilitated in the region, the sea link project must be given a special priority. “Transportation of our goods by sea will make us to be more competitive. We will need $60 million to finance the project and out of this amount, 60 per cent would be raised through equity while 40 per cent ($24 million) will come through debt,” he said.
The project will involve a Special Purpose Vehicle which will be incorporated within the next three months. According to the consultant, out of the amount, $60 million would be needed for direct investment in the project while $1.5 million would be used for promoting the idea within the sub-region.
He also said that $36 million of that amount representing 60 per cent would be raised through equity while the balance of $24m or 40 per cent would be financed through debt.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of NEXIM, Mr. Robert Orya, said the decision to set up the company was to take advantage of the large market in the sub-region requiring immediate attention. “We find out that NEXIM has the biggest market in the region and there is need to drive the private sector to be able to integrate trade in the region. That is why we are finding a way to provide a vehicle to move goods around the region so that we will be able to deepen trade, stop capital flights and create jobs,” he stated.