…Adopts digital-physical planning reforms, over Ease of Doing Business***
The Lagos State government says the multi-billion Naira Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) has exported goods worth US$30 million in the last 12 months.
The Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mrs Lola Akande made this known on Thursday, during the 2020 Ministerial Press Briefing commemorating one year in office of the Governor Sanwo-Olu-led administration.
Akande said that 19 new companies were at various stages of deployment at the Free Trade Zone.
She said that the Lagos State Government-owned 40 per cent while China Africa Lekki Investment Ltd (CALIL) owned 60 per of the Lekki Free Trade Zone Development Company (LFTZDC).
”For any Free Trade Zone (FTZ) to succeed, it must have an efficient access for inward and outward shipment of goods and materials.
”It is in recognition of this fact that the Lagos State Government went into partnership with NPA(owning 5 per cent), Tolaram Group (owning 24 per cent), China Harbour and CHEC -owning 51 per cent and Lagos State owning 20 per cent.
”The Lekki Deep Sea Port will be the deepest port in West Africa with a depth of 16 metres, which means the port can accommodate bigger ships,” Akande said.
The commissioner said that the state’s public-private partnership on mixed industrial-residential development, also known as Alaro City, had attracted 24 companies with a business value estimated at $250 million.
She said that the companies would engage about 2,050 employees in the first phase of their operations.
According to her, the Alaro City project, located at Epe on a 2,000-hectare piece of land, comprised a mix of industrial concerns, homes, offices, healthcare facilities, schools and hostels among others.
The commissioner said that there were 24 new companies at various stages of development in the zone with the very first factory to set up there, Ariel Foods, opening for business in January 2020.
”Ariel Foods is the largest ready-to-use therapeutic food factory in Africa. Its investment in Alaro is a US$15m multi-sector investment, including investment in housing, soap and detergent production.
”The ground-breaking ceremonies for other investors at Alaro City such as ASB Valiant, Starium (BUA Group), Kenol, HMD, Loatsad, Sana and Universal Homes also took place in January 2020,” she said.
Akande said that the infrastructure in place including roads which would open up access to 55 per cent of the site, a 1.4km dual carriageway asphalt road with four-metre median, storm water drains, street lighting and cycling lanes, are 90 per cent completed.
In a related development, the Lagos State Government, the Lagos State Government on Thursday said it would enhance the Ease of doing business, by adopting various reforms capable of boosting physical planning services and public confidence.
The state’s Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Idris Salako, said this during the annual ministerial press briefing to mark the first anniversary of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration.
Salako said part of the reform mechanism led to the inauguration of experts in the Lagos State Physical Planning and Building Control Appeals Committee to handle petitions on contraventions of the extant urban development laws.
He listed other reforms to include passage of new regulation, tagged the ‘Lagos State Physical Planning and Building Control Regulations 2019’, to serve as guidelines for the operations of two agencies.
The agencies are the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA) and the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), which were saddled with responsibilities of enhancing seamless operations.
Other reforms are the devolution of Planning Permit Approval Powers and the creation of more district offices to fast track approval process and enhance the ease of doing business in Lagos State.
It also includes digitisation of the processes of the ministry and its agencies to ensure adoption and compliance with electronic technology in order to enhance its performance.
“The Ministry has received and is currently considering proposals for the application of change detection technology, Geo Satellite Images and data for monitoring and tracking changes in developmental activities with a view to detecting and discouraging illegal development,” he said.
Salako said that the reforms were intended to ensure smooth running of operations of the ministry and its agencies to enhance the sustainability of the environment.
He said the policy was assisting in the delivery of the mandate of the ministry, especially the issuance of planning permits, carrying out regulatory and other activities.
Salako added that to further enhance the ease of doing business, the government had rejuvenated the Electronic Planning Permit (epp.) platform and had received 232 applications through the platform.
He explained that the Ministry, through the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA), granted a total of 2,366 approvals for various uses including commercial, mixed-use, institutional and hotel, agricultural uses, among others.
He said the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development facilitated actualisation of the Lagos Island Revitalisation project by clearing and delivering it to the Ministry of Health.
The commissioner explained that the site meant for health facility was on Adeniji-Adele Road, adding that the old Jankara Market was cleared and delivered for other state development projects.
Salako said that the aim of the Lagos Island Revitalisation project was to address the issue of over-stretched basic infrastructural facilities and reposition her socio-economic status and enhance environmental sustainability.
He said that a total of 14,505 enforcement notices were served on distressed structures and illegal and non-conforming structures through the combined efforts of the ministry and its agencies.
“In the same vein, the Ministry and its agencies identified 8,428 on-going building construction, 543 distressed building and served 2,360 existing building construction with Post Construction Audit (PCA) requests.
“Within the period under review, we issued 13 certificates of completeness and fitness for habitation and unsealed 629 property due to enforcement and compliance.
“In the bid to guarantee the stability and integrity of structures and prevent building collapse in the state, the Ministry through the Materials Testing Laboratory, carried out 54 Geo-technic tests, 41 water tests, 2,302 concrete tests, 1,391 steel test, 25 stanchions test and 75 per cent points of pile.
“We Identified 182 Buildings for re-engineering and served 80 private schools, 100 commercial buildings, 28 bank head offices and the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development areas notices for stability and integrity tests,” he said.