Dangote Invests $9 Billion In Lekki Free Trade ZoneBusiness Monday, February 10th, 2014
Ayo Balogun, Lagos
Multi-billionaire and Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote is investing $9 Billion (N1.5 trillion) to establish the Dangote Refineries and Petrochemical Company at the Lekki Free Trade Zone, (LFTZ) Lagos Nigeria.
Governor Babatunde Fashola led the billionaire to the LFTZ on Sunday for ceremony for the take-off of the multi-billion naira investment at the zone.
Dangote said the LFTZ is certainly going to be the biggest zone in Africa. “Looking at what the Governor has done by bringing this here, I can assure you that this is going to be the biggest free trade zone in the African Continent and I know that the people will begin to show their appreciation,” he said.
Expressing confidence that the Zone holds enormous economic benefits for Lagos State and the country, Dangote declared, “For instance, there is no way we can put down over nine billion Dollars ($9 billion) of our money here without making sure that the zone is going to work”, adding that his Group was going to work at a very high speed.
Dangote had earlier said the communities stand to benefit enormously as over 8,000 engineers would be trained while jobs would be created for youths of the communities.
The major highlight of Sunday’s ceremony was the unanimous agreement by the host communities to accept and cooperate with the company and other investors in the development of the zone.
Fielding questions after the ceremony which featured unanimous acclamation by members of the communities including Obas, Baales and community leaders as well as youths, Fashola expressed joy at the development saying it signals a breakthrough in the quest to fast track development in the Zone.
The governor, who acknowledged that there is no relationship where there will be no misunderstanding, declared, “We have reached an agreement in public. There has been a clear understanding today. We spoke in both local language and dialect and you can see that by clear show of hands the people themselves have given their support. It wasn’t a voice vote; it was a unanimous show of hands that they want this project; so we are ready to go.”
Pointing out that whenever there are misunderstandings, it is the duty of government that such did not disrupt the activities in the trade zone, Fashola, however, asserted, “I find it hard to reconcile the demand for jobs and disturbing the factories and industries that will provide jobs’.
“Lekki Free Trade Zone is beginning to take shape. The Master Plan is being realized, investors are trouping in. Tank farms and major refineries are springing up to service the demands of the country and make room for export. The refineries create a major selling point and release of the opportunities that lie ahead in this zone, create opportunities for the local people and the potentials for Lagos and the Nigerian economy,” he stated.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Sola Oworu, said establishing a refinery in the zone has opened up enormous economic opportunities not only for Lagos but for Nigeria adding that only about 35 percent of the goods to be produced in the zone would be consumed in Lagos while the rest would be exported.
The House of Representatives member, representing Ibeju-Lekki Federal Constituency, Hon. Yomi Aiyeola, commended the Fashola administration for the giant strides already taken in the zone, saying that the investment would in no distant future blossom into a world class zone.
He pledged that by the consensus reached, it would henceforth be an abomination for any member of the communities to disturb investors in the area or interrupt development of the Free Zone.
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