Lagos’ population has continued to grow progressively and the state government has focused on ways to improve the infrastructural development that would accommodate the needs of the people, the Badagry free trade zone will be known as the Africa’s maritime economic city deemed as the largest in Nigeria. Before now, Lagos’ urban development program, which includes the Victoria Island/Badagry Draft Master Plan, has received legal backing by the Lagos State Model City Development law which was enacted in 2009.
Following the license from the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, the free trade zone would attract economic activities and create long lasting jobs.
The zone being developed would occupy 1,100 hectares of land, which would include container terminal, general cargo terminals, oil refinery and an industrial park. However, economic wise, attractive tax incentives will be given, as well as immigration advantages and 100 percent repatriation of profits.
Lagos, as a megacity, requires a strong financial base, despite the constant increase in the monthly Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, from 500 million naira in 1999 to about 20 billion naira currently, the state government still has to invent and implement projects like the Badagry free trade zone to boost its economic status and generate revenue to enable the government fund most of its project to reduce borrowing.
Compared to other maritime cities in the world, Badagry has a lot to learn and emulate from well-established maritime cities. Singapore is the leading maritime city of the world with operations in the shipping, finance and law, technology, and ports, and logistics. however, the industry currently contributes about 7 percent to Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or 10 percent of the services sector, which amounts to three-quarter of the economy, making Singapore a first world economy.
According to Menon, a Norwegian consultancy firm reports that Singapore’s business policies and strategic location on the trade route to Europe and Asia as given the city leverage over its competitors.
“As recently as 10 years ago, Singapore lacked maritime research and education, and the lines between foreign and domestic companies were weak. Today, the city plays a key role in all aspects of the maritime industry,” the reports adds.
Although London is the world’s leading city for maritime finance and law, while Rotterdam’s strength lies in port and logistics services. The capital of Norway, Olso, right behind Hamburg, a city in northern Germany is the third largest maritime city, with a strong hold in maritime finance and technology is beaten by Hamburg, because of its importance as a European city.
But the Lagos Global is a one-stop shop for promoting and dealing with all domestic and foreign investments, as well as managing Lagos overseas affairs.
During the ease of doing business strategy meeting, the Secretary to the State Government, Tunji Bello said the Lagos Global will handle issues relating to immigration, documentation, land and property acquisition for business and related purposes. Likewise taxes, levies, custom and excise.
Also, bilateral/multilateral consultations and intergovernmental and inter-organizational relation will be addressed by the Lagos Global Office.
However, despite the current downturn in the economy, the approval of Badagry as a maritime city will attract foreign companies wanting to set up businesses in Lagos.
Perhaps, Badagry needs to emulate Singapore by keeping its communications channels active with investors through the Lagos Global Office, breeding a step towards the right direction.
The free trade zone is connected to Lagos through the Badagry expressway, currently being upgraded by the Lagos State government as well as the Porto Novo creek.