France To Invest N16.45 billion In Lagos EconomyLagos, News Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
The African Examiner,
The French Development Agency is to invest cumulative N16.45 billion in Lagos, Nigeria for waste treatment of shantytown and on the environment.
This was disclosed by the French Minister for Foreign Trade, Mrs. Nicole Bricq, who led a delegate on a visit to Governor Babatunde Fashola at the State House, Marina, Lagos on Tuesday.
According to Bricq, a representative of the French Development Agency was also on her entourage and was very interested in various projects in terms of urban development in Lagos and was coming with a project with regards to the refurbishment and waste treatment of shanty town of USD 100 million (N16.23 billion) and an extra one million Euro (N216.78 million) from the French Fund for World Environment.
She said her important message to French companies both in Nigeria and back home was that they should come to Nigeria and build industrial partnership with companies in the country so as to participate together with Nigerian companies in the development of the Nigerian people and all of West Africa.
“I think that Lagos needs industrial development and you have recognized it. I know very well that Harbours or Airports or land infrastructure and all of the issues concerning urban mobility are very important and would be strategic for the future, so we are very interested in seeing what you have here and what your projects are for the future and where we could possibly establish some partnerships with you to help you along in this project.
“The issue of better urban living is something which is very dear to our heart and it entails energy capacity and here we have a representative of General Electric France. To achieve better urban living, you need to have better electricity and also other forms of energy and I could also notice that there are some interruption in power supply that does happen sometimes also in Lagos,” she explained.
She described Nigeria as “a country of tremendous potentials not only for French companies but for the whole of Africa.”
Speaking, Fashola urged the French delegate to look towards the State’s Lekki Free Trade Zone as the industrial hub of the future in Nigeria, saying that given the global facilities already available and the extent of development going on in the Zone, it was something that should be of interest to French businesses.
“I think it is something that French businesses should see because, in terms of industrialization in the State, that is the future. That is where we would be able to support industries because it would now be complemented with a seaport and an airport which will be close to it; so it will be a real logistic centre going forward,” he said.
The governor urged the delegation to take time and visit the Zone which, according to him, was made up of 16,000 square hectares of land for the development of industrial complex for logistics, manufacturing, oil and gas and which has been broken up into segments with work commencing on building the first 3,000 hectares.
“It has all of the global facilities that trading in free trade zone will have; customs clearing is already in place at the moment. The regulatory regime is there, so we are just about the process of development. We already have some industrialists and entrepreneurs who have taken land and who have already started development of their sites,” he added.
According to the governor, “the Lagos transport project is not going to be intra city and inter-country transportation alone but an international transportation that would bring people from diverse and far-flung places together and facilitate trade.”
He said the central role of transportation in commerce was one of the reasons why the State was committed to the Blue Line project on the western corridor of Lagos along with the road expansion there to link Nigeria with her sister countries along the West Coast of Africa.
Fashola stated that much progress had been made, with the support of the French Development Agency, on the expansion of the Mile 12-Ikorodu highway, noting that the project was making steady progress.
He added, “From the indicators that I have, some time toward the end of next year, it should be done if we do not suffer any project delay and the people are very warmly receptive of the project and all is really well at the moment.
“The present administration is implementing simultaneously about five major transport projects in the state namely the Badagry Road corridor, the Rail Project, the Ikorodu corridor, the Lekki- Epe Expressway and the Ferry Terminal. Simultaneously also, government is trying to catch up on lost time to open up and release the energy of the State because once all of these transportation facilities are up and running, there would be a lot of economic activity, trade and prosperity.”
He also informed the business delegation that the ground work for the Lekki Airport was on-going with a lot of work already done in terms of concept design, fencing of the area as well as sorting out of issues of compensation with the landowners.
“We have already appointed financial advisers and are reviewing some early interests and proposals that have been submitted and we expect that in the nearest time more progress would be made towards getting the project through and ready and would give Lagos the benefit of a second airport,” he said.
Fashola added: “There is a seaport project already on the way and when all of this is done, really, the opportunity for trade can only get more and upscale as efficiency of businesses will be improved and clearly all those who seek to do business in Lagos can only look to a real season of prosperity and progress.”
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