It is with great joy that I welcome everyone to this year’s Ministerial Press Briefing of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives in commemoration of the second year in office of His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, as the Governor of Lagos State. It is symbolic as this press briefing coincides with the beehive of activity to celebrate Lagos at 50, which has come with a lot of fun and ecstasy.
Distinguished Gentlemen of the Press, it is a fact that one of the established principles in governance is that government should constantly have an interface with the citizenry to engender proper articulation and delivery of programmes and projects and to ensure accountability. The people need to be constantly informed on how public funds are being utilized. Accordingly, it is imperative that the activities of this Ministry saddled with the responsibility of promoting sustainable commercial and industrial growth in the State should be unfolded to the public to show what has been done in the last one year and project into the future.
It is in furtherance of the above principles of governance that we are gathered here today to present our scorecard and render an account of the activities of our Ministry in the last one year to the good people of Lagos State.
Since the coming on board of this administration, through a combination of financial re-engineering and ingenious managerial style, the administration of His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has no doubt kept faith with the people in delivering the dividends of democracy. This is evidenced by the massive infrastructural renaissance and the positive socio-economic developments across the state.
Therefore, I am happy to inform you that within the last one year, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives has kept faith with the administration’s vision and remained unrelenting in its efforts to attain and sustain high level of viable and vibrant commercial and industrial activities in the State. This is within the context of our assigned ministerial mandates which is to initiate, formulate, execute, monitor and evaluate policies and programmes to enhance commercial and industrial activities in the State.
Our ultimate mission is to create and sustain an enabling environment and thereby promote economic growth and development in the State. As you are aware the State is a leader in the concerted effort to diversify our nation’s mono-product economy and therefore a lot of responsibilities are being borne by the State to address this. These entail collaborating with the Organised Private Sector (OPS) and public sector agencies at State and Federal levels to create a conducive environment which would ease the mode of doing business and in effect pave the way for the desired local and foreign investment inflow.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, in the succeeding paragraphs, concrete achievements of the Lagos State Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives in the last one year of this administration will be pinpointed.
ESTABLISHMENT OF LIGHT INDUSTRIAL PARK AT IMOTA
You will recall that a year ago while performing this same function, I mentioned the fact that the Industrial Park in Imota in the Ikorodu Division had been provided with roads, drainage and site and service plots.
I am happy to inform you that the State’s Executive Council last month formally approved the establishment of an integrated Light Industrial Park in Imota with full complements of warehouses, factory units, water and electricity facilities and adequate parking spaces. In the first phase of the project, we will build 80 factory units with the target to hit the peak point of 120 units upon completion.
Work is ongoing to also deliver on the Agemowo Industrial Park in the Badagry Division where we are already at an advanced stage with a private investor to establish a modern auto mart on 10 hectares out of the State’s 30 hectares of land in the park.
PARTNERSHIP WITH UNIDO ON ESTABLISHMENT OF A FASHION & SHOE HUB AND PACKAGING CLUSTER
The Ministry has entered into a technical cooperation agreement with United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) through its Investment Technology Promotion Office (ITPO) towards establishing a fashion and shoe hub at Gberigbe Enterprise Zone. The aim is to boost and develop entrepreneurial capacities of SMEs for sustainable enterprise development and investment promotion using UNIDO methodologies and facilitate technology acquisition and transfer which will lead to accelerated industrial development and economic growth.
NEW INDUSTRIAL POLICY
In the drive for an enhanced industrial landscape in Lagos State, the State Government through the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives is on the threshold of delivering a new Industrial Policy for the State. The Ministry which is in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is preparing the all-encompassing Industrial Policy to replace the obsolete policy of 1985. A Validation Workshop/Retreat on the new Industrial Policy was organized during the period under review. The workshop was well attended by various stakeholders from the Organized Private Sector (OPS) and representatives of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of Lagos State Government with technical support from UNIDO
The Ministry began this year the implementation of the Auction Law Cap A12 Laws of Lagos State 2015 which confers on the Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives the power to issue practising licences to auctioneers operating in Lagos State with further provision for yearly renewal of such licences. The implementation of the Auction Law is aimed at sanitising the practice of auctioneering in the State to curb unwholesome acts of quacks and unqualified practitioners. Accordingly, 21 auctioneers were licensed in the first quarter of 2017 after having been found fit and proper to practice the business of auctioneering in Lagos State.
LEKKI FREE ZONE
The Lekki Free Zone (LFZ) remains a landmark industrial project for the Lagos State Government. The strategic partnership between the Lagos State Government and the China-Africa Lekki Investment Limited (CALIL) in the Lekki Free Zone Development Company (LFZDC) is a testament to the undying resolve of the State Government to ensure sustainable industrialisation of the State that would translate to improved job and wealth creation as well as economic growth through the attraction of local and foreign direct investments.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am very happy to inform you that 116 investors have so far registered with LFZ out of which 16 have commenced full operations. While some factories are currently under Construction, 100 investors have also signified their intention to register and situate their business within the zone. The investors currently in operations in the Zone are:
The Candel FZE- Agro-Chemical
Lovinghome Furnishing FZE- Office Furniture
Sinotruk FZE- Dump Trucks Assembling
Crown Natures Nigeria FZE- Garment Factory
His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode inspecting a factory at Lekki Free Zone
H&Y International FZE- Artificial Hair and
Dabu Pump FZE- Water Pumps Assembly
Bollore Africa Logistics FZE- Logistics Services
Huachuang Steel Structure FZE- Steel Structures
and Iron Sheets
Yulong Steel Pipes FZE- Steel Pipes Mill
Asia-Africa FZE- Vehicles Assembly
Aslan Nigeria FZE- Manufacturing of Security
Coral Beach Fze - Estate Development
CCECC Nigeria FZE- Construction and Civil
ZNI Jian Nigeria FZE- Construction
Jiangsu Geology & Engineering (Nig) + ZE-
ZCC Construction FZE- Construction Service
It is important to emphasise that some of the factories listed above were at various stages of construction this time last year. Also, the factories of the following companies are now under construction:
Golden Dream Commodity FZE
Hidier Generators Assembly FZE
Datang International FZE
EQUITY CONTRIBUTION TO LEKKI FREE ZONE DEVELOPMENT
During the period under review, the Lagos State Government further released a sum of six hundred and ninety eight million, four hundred and seventy eight thousand, eight hundred and ninety five naira only (N698,478,895) to the joint venture as part of the State’s equity contribution. This is part of the effort to ensure the speedy development of the Free Zone and honour the State’s obligation on counterpart funding of the project.
COMPLETED INFRASTRUCTURAL PROJECTS IN LFZ
Installation of Street Lights and Traffic Lights: A major component of a city is electrification and road lighting. In this regard, street lights have been installed. To ensure safety, traffic lights have also been installed at major intersections and in line with this there is strict monitoring of compliance with the traffic regulations within the Zone.
Road Construction: Besides the 30 kilometers of existing roads within the Zone, additional roads measuring approximately six (6) kilometers are currently under construction. This will take the total roads length constructed in the zone to 36kilometers
Construction of Concrete Drainages: Several concrete drainages that I reported last year to be under construction have now been completed including those within the areas bounded N3/E7-N3/E6A, N4/E7-N4/E6A, N3/E7-N3/E8 and N3/E8 being areas occupied amongst others by Asia-Africa FZE, Jinhua FZE, Huachuang FZE, CNSS FZE among others. Presently approximately 3,485.86 meters of concrete drainages have been constructed within the Zone to ensure a flood-free enviroment.
The Customs Processing Centre (CPC):
The operations of the Customs Processing Centre has commenced. Currently, investors’ Customs Processing requirements can be carried out within the Zone. This will engender speedy importation and exportation of raw materials and goods
Construction of Police Station: The Lekki Free Zone Police Station which was under construction last year has been completed. It was constructed in line with international best practices. While awaiting official commissioning and postings, the Police Station will deploy state of the art equipment to ensure adequate security in and around the Zone.
LFZ completed Police Station awaiting Commissioning
Clearing of Land and Backfilling Works: The natural state of the Lekki Free Zone site comprises mainly of bush land in a swampy terrain. The Lekki Free Zone Development Company (LFZDC) is therefore carrying out bush clearing activities and backfilling works there which in the last one year has been stepped up to make way for more investors. While some areas will be cleared, several vegetation and trees will be preserved in order to make the zone ecologically friendly.
Construction of Office Complex: LFZDC has commenced the construction of a 12-storey Office Complex. This is designed to be an iconic building which will house service delivery companies among which is an offshore bank. The phase one of the project is at about 30percentage completion stage.
PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION TO LFZ COMMUNITIES
In fulfilment of the earlier promise of compensation to communities affected by the Lekki Free Zone Project, the State Government during the period under review disbursed Seven Hundred and Forty Million, Four Hundred and Sixty-One Thousand, Four Hundred and Thirty two Naira only (N740, 461,432.00) as compensation to the host communities of parcel B comprising Yegunda and Abomiti as well as Lekki-Epe International Airport zone. The payment received tremendous applause from members of the communities and rekindled their hope and confidence in the State Government to fulfil its part of the bargain enshrined in the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the host communities.
RE-CONSTITUTION OF THE RESETTLEMENT COMMITTEES OF LFZ
Gentlemen of the press, to ensure smooth and cordial relations among the host communities, investors and the State Government towards effective and timely delivery of the Lekki Free Zone project, five Resettlement Committees were re-constituted and inaugurated of which their members were democratically elected by the communities in accordance with the Government’s White Paper on inquiry into the causes of the civil disturbances at the Lekki Free Zone on 12th October 2015. The Resettlement Committees are for the five subzones comprising Abejoye, Abomiti, Yegunda, Lekki-Coastal and Lekki-Epe Airport.
NIGERIA-CHINA FORUM ON PRODUCTION CAPACITY AND INVESTMENT COOPERATION
The Ministry through the Lekki Free Zone Development Company (LFZDC) in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China organised the Nigeria-China Forum on production capacity and investment cooperation. The forum was to enable the Chinese investors in the Lekki Free Zone to interface with the regulatory authorities in Nigeria with the aim of fast-tracking business transactions and improving the relationship among the investors, the host communities and the State Government.
Y2016 AFRICAN INDUSTRIALISATION DAY (AID)
The Ministry in collaboration with the Technology Incubation Centre, Agege, commemorated the 2016 Young African Industrialists Week (YAIW) and The 2016 African Industrialization Day (AID). Within the framework of the Second Industrial Development Decade for Africa, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the 20th day of November as AID. The day is intended to mobilise the commitment of the international community to the industrialisation of Africa. Highlights of the celebration included seminars, business clinics for entrepreneurs, 3-day exhibition by MSMEs and award of excellence to deserving MSMEs. At the event last year entrepreneurs showed their positive response to the advocacy about backward integration by adding value to local farm products to produce soaps, creams, perfumes and processed food and drinks.
IMPLEMENTATION OF HARMONISED INSPECTION OF INDUSTRIES IN THE STATE
During the period under review, His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, approved the commencement of the Harmonised Inspection of workplaces in Lagos State and the implementation formally commenced on the 15th of November 2016. The Harmonised Inspection Team comprises officials of the Ministry of Health, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, Lagos State Safety Commission and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives (the secretariat for the harmonized inspection activities). Hitherto ministries, agencies and departments (MDAs) conducted separate inspection visits to companies and thereby creating operational disruptions and loss of man-hours in the companies.
During the course of this year, 125 production companies in the State were visited under the Harmonised Inspection Scheme making a total of 375 companies visited since the commencement of the scheme last year. The non-compliant companies were sent follow-up letters to address their inadequacies within a deadline of three weeks. Furthermore, during this period, three companies were investigated for industrial dispute among which are CHI LIMITED and LINDA SHOPHIA LIMITED while RIDA PLASTICS LIMITED was visited as a result of fire incident.
The Ministry commissioned the new Lagos State Cooperative Federation (LASCOFED) Office Complex and Multipurpose Hall in the course of the period under review it is the first of its kind in the country by a co-operative body and it would raise the bar in cooperative operations and organization.
During this period of review, the State’s executive council approved the Lagos State Cooperative College Bill which is currently with the House of Assembly for passage into law.
Three hundred and sixty (360) Cooperative Societies were registered to bring the total number of cooperative societies registered to 3,280. Also, during the period under review 73 societies were inaugurated, 232 Annual Accounts and Returns were prepared and submitted for approval while 158 Annual Accounts were verified and approved by the Director of Cooperative Services.
Also, 105 Annual General Meetings (AGM) were held during the period under review, 442 Societies were visited and 1,403 co-operators across the State were trained at the Cooperative College.
Distinguished Gentlemen of the Press, in concluding this press briefing, permit me to reiterate the Ministry’s commitment to the sustainability of the state’s position as the nation’s economic hub now adjudged as the 5th largest economy in Africa and specifically the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives as the driver of commercial and industrial growth will continue to generate ideas and policies that will stimulate massive economic development of the State. We shall maintain the States’ leading role in our collective quest to diversify Nigeria’s mono-product economy by continuing to promote the production and consumption of locally made goods and pave way for aggressive investment in the non-oil subsector.
I will like to appreciate and recognize the contributions of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Commerce, the Permanent Secretary and the entire members of staff of the ministry for the modest achievements made so far. The staff have particularly worked hard in the past year to align with the reinvigorated vision of the Ministry. We appreciate your efforts in ensuring that we have got this far.
I wish to express my appreciation to the good people of Lagos State for their unalloyed support to the Government and the Organized Private Sector (OPS) which provides the lubricant for the wheel of economic growth in the State.
I will like to specially thank the Fourth Estate of the Realm for your support in covering our activities during the period under review and particularly for your presence and attention today. Gentlemen of the Press, your comments and constructive criticisms are highly valued and appreciated and these actually spur us to do more. We count on your continued support towards ensuring the promotion of sustainable commercial and industrial growth and tapping the huge potentials of the co-operatives segment as a veritable impetus to economic growth in the State.
I thank you all for listening.
Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko, ‘Lojewalogun!
Prince Rotimi Ogunleye
Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives
8th May, 2017.