…seeks investors to expand road, rail infrastructure
The Lagos State Government on Monday said
over $735.8 million (about N264 billion) worth of finished goods have so far been
exported from the Lekki Free Zone project in the last three years.
Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and
Cooperatives, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye who disclosed this at the annual
Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the third anniversary of Governor Akinwunmi
Ambode’s administration held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, said
the government was totally committed to the development of businesses in the
Zone, adding that measures were taken to ensure that the goods meet
international standard before they are exported out of the country.
She said the Nigeria Customs, Nigeria Export
Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and other supporting agencies coordinated
the exporting process of the goods in conjunction with the Standard
Organisation of Nigeria (SON), saying that it was a testament to the fact that
the Zone was living up to expectation.
She said the Lekki Free Zone, among other things,
was conceptualized to develop an offshore economic growth zone, attract foreign
investments, promote export, create job opportunities, transfer technology,
minimise capital flight and establish a one stop business haven and currently
has 22 Free Zone Enterprises (FZEs) and 18 manufacturing enterprises in
Oladunjoye also disclosed that to date, the Joint
Venture with the Chinese Consortium has a total equity investment of
$180.4million and has received Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) totalling
$140.2million out of the $200million FDI expected from the Consortium.
Besides, she said 125 investors have registered,
while 59 investors have their Lease Agreements, adding that 726 Nigerians have
been employed by the FZEs and N376.5million spent on executing 14 Corporate
Social Responsibility (CSR) projects for host communities.
She listed other achievements in the Lekki Free Zone
to include $500million FDI from FZEs in operation, while a Customs Processing
Centre (CPC) for Nigeria Customs Service was established to improve the ease of
doing business and eliminate bottlenecks.
The Commissioner said the Government has opened its
doors to investors willing to partner the State in the provision of inter-modal
transportation infrastructure within the Lekki Free Zone axis, with emphasis on
road and rail system to accommodate the massive investments coming into the
corridor and solve the attendant traffic challenges.
She said with the emerging industrial revolution
within the Epe-Ibeju-Lekki corridor of the State especially the Lekki Free
Zone, the Lekki Deep Seaport, the Dangote Refinery and Fertilizer Plants, Lagos
was fast becoming the preferred investment destination across the globe.
But, she said the State Government was not unmindful
of the fact that an integrated transportation system was critical to the
success of the emerging business activities zone when all the ongoing
businesses come on stream.
“However we are not unmindful of the fact that one
of the critical success factors, that is, an integrated transportation
infrastructure, must be catered for along with these various investors’
endeavours within the corridor for us to harness the full values that these
projects will bring on board when they all fully come on stream,” she said.
She said plans were already in top gear to provide a
holistic inter-modal transportation network comprising rail, road and water
transportation systems so as to mitigate future challenges especially traffic
congestion in view of the envisaged estimated 6,650 daily trucks movement
within the corridor when all the ongoing businesses take off fully.
“I said in my report that we do not want to have
another Apapa on our hands. This government is responsive and it’s a government
that is futuristic.
“In realization of the enormity of the required
funding vis-à-vis the compelling need for transportation infrastructure,
notably road and rail within the Lekki Free Zone corridor, the State Government
has encouraged investors to express interest in of the planned axial roads that
would take vehicular traffic away from the adjoining towns of the area and to
Ogun State and there are other roads that we are working on,” Oladunjoye said.
The Commissioner assured that the State Government
would do everything possible to fast-track the necessary procurement process
for the selection of the concessionaire to enable construction work begin on
the road before the end of the year.
On the Lekki Deep Sea Port, the Commissioner said
that work has already commenced after the ground breaking ceremony performed by
the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, revealing that the Port which
would be the deepest seaport in Sub-Saharan Africa will create over 170,000
direct jobs in the State while the first ship is expected to berth before the
end of the first quarter in 2020 when the construction would be completed.
Speaking further, Oladunjoye said the State
Government has concluded plans to activate the Memorandum of Understanding
(MoU) signed with the Kano State Government after the Lagos-Kano Summit to set
up a leather hub in Lagos.
“Recently I was at the Leather Fair and I saw the
extent of the value chain of leather and was really impressed. Part of the fall
out of the Lagos-Kano Summit is for us to leverage on our strengths and
comparative advantage. Kano is the hub for Leather and our plan is to have a
leather hub, a shoe factory here in Lagos,” she said.