The Lagos State Government has begun making serious overtures to foreign investors in a bid to attract their investment into the Lekki Free Trade Zone Development Company. The latest of such overtures was a business meeting between he Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Co-operatives in Lagos, Prince Rotimi Ogunleye and members of the Diplomatic Community at LFZDC.
During the meeting, the Commissioner outlined specific strategies that the government had implemented in order to make LFTZDC attractive to all foreign investors. Some of these steps are
- 47million has been so far released for infrastructural development in LFZDC to ensure that basic amenities required were available on a continuous basis. Some of these amenities are adequate security, water treatment plant, sewage plant, and round-the-clock power supply. All of these are all available in order to enhance the ease of doing business in the Zone
- 461 million had been given as compensation to host communities comprising Yegunda and Abomiti as well as Lekki-Epe International Airport Zone. This would forestall any community hostility arising from lost property, which has the ability to impede investment in the area.
- The LFTZDC, according to its Managing Director, Ding Yonghua is a transparent and efficient management service, which will accord fair treatment to all investors, Chinese or otherwise, despite its makeup
These actions, the Commissioner said, were part of the state government’s commitment to promoting sustainable commercial and industrial growth and ensure speedy development. However, will these actions be enough?
Some good signs are present to suggest that the LFTZDC may actually succeed in getting foreign investment. For one, the meeting was attended by representatives from Canada, Britain, China, France, Ireland, Malaysia, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Germany, and Namibia. These countries also represent a good mix, indicating that some form of interest is currently being stirred.
The LASG commitment to the project as shown through its prompt disbursement of funds as well as the growing investor confidence in the country are other positive signs. Couple this with the obvious advantages of the location of the Zone, less than three kilometers from the Lekki Deep Seaport, the presence of proposed international airport to be situated about 10 kilometers away and easy access to inland waterways, rail and road access.
On the flip side, however, larger issues surrounding the ease of doing business in Nigeria, the stability of the Naira and other Federal Government policies could serve as an impediment to investment in the Zone. And while at the business meeting, the Commissioner went to great lengths to suggest that the board constitution of Nigerians and Chinese does not imply that the Zone is for Chinese investment only, the fear of bias may continue to play in the minds of potential investors from other countries.
In the end, the interplay of both sets of factors will play a key role in determining how much of a success the Zone will be for the state and the country at large.