Truck with container
By John Iwori
The National Assembly has thrown its weight behind indigenous operators in the maritime sector of the economy.
Following this, the legislators have assured indigenous operators in the nation’s fledging oil and gas sector of legislation that would guarantee sustenance of the industry, in line with the aspirations of the local content initiative.
The support came when members of the House of Representatives Committee on Commerce paid a visit to the Lagos Free Zone (LFZ), operators of the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics (LADOL) base.
Members of the committee who were led by their Chairman, Hon. Sylvester Ogbuga were conducted round the LFZ by the Managing Director of LADOL, Dr. Amy Jadesimi.
According to the legislator, the visit was part of their oversight functions on organisations under the licence of the Nigerian Exports Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA).
Other members of the committee on the tour were, Robinson Ajiboye, Hamzat Ganiyu, Abdul Rahman Badamasuiy, David Chun-Gyang as well as the Committee’s Clerk, Uche Chris Okorie and its Consultant, Chidozie Aja.
The Chairman explained that the legislative arm of government has since realised that current security and allied challenges being faced by the nation could largely be solved by creating employment for the youths such as being done at LADOL.
“We are impressed at the way you partner with NEPZA to create jobs”, he said.
He noted that aside from attracting foreign direct investment, revenue generation and local content drive, the LFZ has created an unprecedented number of jobs in the offshore logistics sector as a wholly indigenous organisation.
“We are quite satisfied with the progress at this organisation so far, as an indigenous outfit. When you have such a trend, it behoves on you to lend a support…we will work towards removing whatever legislative impediments that may hinder the growth of this initiative”, he said.
The lawmakers however charged management of LADOL to continue to cooperate with the regulatory authority, NEPZA, saying all efforts were on to finalize on-going efforts to amend the regulator’s enabling law.
Jadesimi had earlier in her presentation pointed out that all Nigeria needs to take her pride of place as the regional hub for oil and gas is for government to encourage local investors.
His words: “Nobody can love Nigeria more that Nigerians themselves. The private sector remains the real driver of the economy and thus has to be encouraged. Competition and encouraging growth of several operators will take Nigeria into the Group 20” as desired by the current regime”.
He pointed out that several countries in Africa such as Ghana, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome, south Africa and Ivory Coast currently look up to Nigeria.
She expressed regret that the country was paying double for her services to them owing to the low level of indigenous participation in the endeavour.
Jadesimi called on the lawmakers to impress it on foreign operators that Nigeria is currently operating a local content regime, hence “they should respect our local content law” adding that “local content is the key to our national economic growth”.
She explained that the call should not be mistaken for a campaign against foreign investment, saying, “at LADOL, we are very open and ever ready to partner with genuine investors…but we should discourage monopoly in whatever form”.