Lagos Free Zone (LFZ), a subsidiary of Tolaram, is redefining the ease of doing business in Nigeria to attract investments.
Dinesh Rathi, the company’s CEO, stated this last week at one of the panel sessions at the ninth German-Nigerian Business Forum.
Speaking on the unique proposition of the zone, Rathi disclosed that the zone offers world-class industrial infrastructure, ready to lease land, warehouses, and its proximity and integration with the Lekki Deep Sea Port presents an attractive incentive for businesses while also enhancing their ease of doing business both locally and internationally.
Responding to how the LFZ can promote businesses in Nigeria, Rathi explained that the free zone would enable a private sector driven economy, saying, “The LFZ will mitigate the infrastructural deficiency for businesses, entrepreneurs and business people who secure office spaces with us, and we will provide electricity and other important infrastructure to help their business run smoothly and seamlessly.
“The deep-sea port is an addition for importers and international traders faced with bottlenecks and red tape associated with shipping and clearing their goods. At LFZ, this narrative has changed drastically as we aim to encourage a private sector driven economy in a regulated and policy-driven way.”
Also speaking during the session, the first female director-general of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chinyere Anumba, opined that the ease of doing business was essential for commerce to thrive in Nigeria and the whole of Africa.
On the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) role, she said, “The AFCFTA is pivotal to enabling free trade in Africa and growing markets on a continental scale. It also encourages the growth of small businesses, just like with the LCCI, which supports businesses through training and webinars while helping them understand and mitigate the challenges of transcontinental trade. The LCCI also helps business persons take advantage of relationships across the border by helping them recognize market dynamics and protocols while preparing them to leverage on partnerships across the region without infringing on WTO agreements.”
Speaking on the role of the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), the director, Policy Advocacy, John Oseji, disclosed that NIPC has a significant role to play in attracting investment into Nigeria and is essential to growing the economy and ensuring that indigenous businesses thrive. He said that the commission holds sensitisation programs for small businesses while seeking investments to grow priority areas like agriculture and information technology.
He stated that the response to the call to invest in Nigeria had not been met with much enthusiasm due to the lack of infrastructure. However, foreign organisations are encouraged to view risk areas as areas of opportunities for them to invest.
Also, the virtual discussants – Oge Chukwurah of the National Action Committee, an international trade specialist, and Amy Jadesimi, managing director, LADOL, spoke extensively on how free markets and open economies were pivotal in promoting and enhancing intercontinental trade.