By Monsur Olowoopejo
LAGOS – THE Federal Government, weekend, assured Nigerians that plans had been concluded to ensure that the Lekki Free Trade Zone, LFTZ commences full operation before 2013.
Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga gave the assurance, during an inspection tour of ongoing construction at the LFTZ in Lagos.
He said: “Federal Government is more interested in the technology that would be brought into the country through the zone, jobs that would be made available when the zone commences operation and investments that will come with the free trade zone.
“We want to increase our yearly earning and augment our foreign reserve. Free trade zone is one major channel to achieve these easily.”
The minister noted that the Federal Government was ready to work with Lagos State Government, the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company, CCECC and Lekki Free Trade Zone Development Company, LFTZDC, to ensure that it becomes operational before the end of 2012.
Aganga said the Federal Government was aware of some of the challenges, adding: “We have since commenced activities to ensure that these challenges are quickly addressed before the completion of the construction works at the zone.”
The minister said he would visit Republic of China to further discuss the interest of the free trade zone with the Chinese Minister of Commerce, adding that of the 19 trade zones being handled by China, the Lagos Free Trade zone was the biggest with over 10,000 hectares of land.
Speaking earlier, Deputy Managing Director of LFTZDC, Mr. Adeyemo Thompson, said some of the challenges facing the zone were off-shore banking, power supply, unavailability of nexus of roads from the zone to other parts of the state among others.
On the numbers of companies, which had shown interest in the zone, Thompson said nine new companies had also signified their interest in the zone.