Lagos Free Zone Aims To Contribute $12 Billion To GDP
According to the Managing Director of Tolaram, the zone’s owners, Dinesh Rathi, the Lagos Free Zone Aims To Contribute $12 Billion To Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the following ten years.
Rathi predicted that the forecast would become a reality thanks to rising economic activity in the area, particularly activities at the ultra-modern Lekki Deep Seaport. According to him, the Lagos Free Zone has attracted around $2.5 billion in investments and infrastructure improvement to date.
He claims that on the vast free zone, 24 warehouses have been finished, and that there has been rapid progress in finding possible off-takers from both inside and outside the nation to boost the usage of the facilities there.
The LFZ boss expressed confidence that over 32,000 jobs would be produced by businesses operating in the zone over the course of the next ten years, more than doubling the existing 15,000 jobs capacity and significantly lowering the country’s unemployment rate.
Over 70% of the raw materials used in the various manufacturing companies are currently sourced domestically, according to Rathi, who also noted that about 15% of senior management positions at Tolaram Nigeria Limited, the owners and managers of the Lagos Free Zone, are held by Nigerians.
Rathi reassured that the zone has built two truck parks with capacity to accommodate over 150 trucks at a time in response to concerns expressed by many observers that the infamous Apapa gridlock was already in the making at the LFZ access roads.
He also stated that the management is collaborating with the Lagos State government to develop a call-up system that would ensure effective logistics and haulage of cargoes from the zone.
Rathi listed some of the difficulties associated with operating from the zone, saying: “Part of our challenges border on Nigeria’s tough business environment which we also see as transitory, because government is doing a lot in the area of road construction and expansion. Some of the roads are good, but we expect further expansion and upgrade to improve the efficiency of our operations.”
He expressed hope that the macroeconomic climate of the country will improve with the election of the new administration, resulting in more people using the zone’s facilities.
Samuel Azanor, the LGZ Port’s safety manager, added during a tour of the port facilities that the Lekki Deep Seaport is the first seaport to be established in Nigeria and that the others are more appropriately referred to as river ports due to its shallow drought.