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NPA, NEPZA laud new agric, health free zone initiative

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The Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), and the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), have expressed commitment to supporting the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistic Base (LADOL), in its maritime, health, agriculture and logistics operations in Nigeria.

Executive Director, Marine and Operations, NPA, Onari Brown, while on a familiarisation tour to the LADOL Zone, said he was impressed with the infrastructure development, adding that the company’s heavy lift capacity makes it a destination of choice.

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Brown, who was in the company of the Manager, Lagos Port Complex (LPC), Apapa, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Olotu, said: “I am really impressed with what I have seen today, and I think I will be more supportive…Now that I have seen, I think we will engage more, we will talk more.

“Talking about agriculture, I am so impressed because in every country, the major thing that can cause the highest crisis is food insufficiency. Somebody that has eaten well could wait for better times to come but when somebody is on lockdown and does not have food in his house, he will leave that house and go out to look for food.”

“In this time of COVID era, Nigerians have come to realise that you cannot rely on crude oil and we need to grow our maritime sector. Throughout the period of the COVID, across the world, when they said airports were closing down etc, no country thought about shutting down their seaports. The ports were all operating and that was what sustained the fight against COVID.”

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Brown maintained that Nigerian seaports cannot be taken lightly, noting that NPA will always be supportive to operators and all its partners to further develop the maritime sector.

The Managing Director, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, said that LADOL’s development of infrastructure and facilities for logistics, now being expanded to support a wide range of industries, is both strategic for the company and for Nigeria.

He said: “More than $1billion is spent by Nigerians going abroad for medical tourism every year, and that is an opportunity for us now to attract very good investment in this sector and to get the hospitals to come closer to us in Nigeria, by using the Free Zone strategy. This is one area we will be very happy to work with you (LADOL) in promoting. Also, the very important aspect of the Agriculture Free Zone, I am happy that you are thinking in that direction.”

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Commenting on LADOL’s corporate social responsibility, the Managing Director, Dr. Amy Jadesimi, said since inception, the company has engaged with local communities to create an understanding and work with them on a meritocratic basis.

“What that means is that you get the job if you are qualified for the job. But a lot of Nigerians have not had the experience for the specialised jobs we do. So, we are not looking for somebody who necessarily has 10 years’ experience in a field.

“We are looking for young people who are hardworking, honest, and ready to jump in with both feet. With that mantra, many of our staff have been with us for over a decade, and many of them come from the local community. LADOL provides a lot of employment and training,” she said.

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