Lagos State government says over $735.8 million (about N264 billion) worth of finished goods have so far been exported from the Lekki Free Trade Zone (FTZ) project in the last three years.
Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, the Commissioner for Commerce and Cooperatives, disclosed this at the annual ministerial press briefing on Monday to mark the third anniversary of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration at Alausa, Ikeja.
She 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 were exported out of the country.
She said the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and other supporting agencies coordinated the exporting process of the goods in conjunction with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), saying that it was a testament to the fact that the zone was living up to expectation.
The Lekki FTZ, among other things, was conceptualised to develop an offshore economic growth zone, attract foreign investment, 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 operation, she added.
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.
She informed that 125 investors had registered, while 59 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.
Other achievements in the Lekki FTZ she listed included $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 commissioner said the government had opened its doors to investors willing to partner the state in the provision of inter-modal transportation infrastructure within the axis, with emphasis on road and rail system to accommodate the massive investment 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 FTZ, the Lekki Deep Seaport, the Dangote Refinery and Fertiliser Plant, Lagos was fast becoming the preferred investment destination across the globe.
Oladunjoye affirmed the state government was not unmindful of the fact that an integrated transportation system was critical to the success of the emerging business activities in zone when all the 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 disclosed that plans were already in top gear to provide a holistic inter-modal transportation network comprising rail, road and water transportation systems 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.
Government, she added, had 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.