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N264bn exports recorded at Lekki Free Trade Zone

… as FG earns N1.6bn in duties
JOSHUA BASSEY
A total of $735.8 million (about N264bn) exports of finished goods have in the last three years been recorded at the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) in Lagos, with N1.6 billion paid as duties to the Federal Government.
The trade zone sits on about 16,000 hectares total land space but only about 241.3 hectares of the first phase have so far been utilised. The free trade zone was conceptualised to develop an offshore economic growth zone, attract foreign investments, promote export, create jobs, transfer technology, minimise capital flight and establish a one-stop business hub, and currently operates with 22 Free Zone Enterprises (FZEs) and 18 manufacturing firms.
Olayinka Oladunjoye, Lagos State commissioner for commerce, industry and cooperatives, said on Monday, that measures had been taken to ensure that goods produced within the zone met international standard for export.
According to Oladunjoye, the Nigeria Customs, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and other supporting agencies are coordinating the exporting process of the goods in conjunction with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
Oladunjoye also disclosed that to date, the joint venture with the Chinese Consortium had a total equity investment of $180.4 million and had received Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) totalling $140.2 million out of the $200 million FDI expected from the consortium.
Besides, she said 125 investors had registered, while 59 investors had their Lease Agreements, adding that 726 Nigerians had been employed by the FZEs and N376.5 million spent on executing 14 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects for host communities.
She listed other achievements in the Lekki Free Zone to include $500 million 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 government, she said, has opened doors to investors willing to partner the state in the provision of inter-modal transportation infrastructure within the Lekki free zone 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 especially the Lekki free zone, the Lekki deep seaport, the Dangote refinery and fertilizer plants, the axis is fast becoming the preferred investment destination across the globe.
She said the state government was mindful of the need for an integrated transportation system critical to the success of the emerging business activities along that axis 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 value that these projects will bring on board when they all fully come on stream,” she said.
She said plans are 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.
“We do not want to have another Apapa on our hands. This government is responsive and it’s a government that is futuristic. In realisation 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,” she said.

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