The Managing Director of Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL), Dr. Amy Jadesimi, has disclosed that LADOL is expanding its infrastructures to accommodate and create more platforms for more companies in other sectors such as agriculture, logistics, manufacturing, etc not only to do business in the base but to drive the industrialization of Nigeria.
Amy Jadesimi stressed that local content development is the best way for Nigeria and other countries around the world to grow their economies in an interview with PortNews in Lagos yesterday.
“We are in the period of expanding the zone. Our focus is on agriculture, manufacturing, logistics. We are investing in infrastructure, green energy, and people so that we can accommodate a wide range of companies in the base. The government has done much in terms of infrastructure. We have a lot of roadblocks and getting out we had to sit with the government to iron them out. It has not been easy. However, we are getting better understandings from the Nigerian Export Promotion Council and the Ministry of Trade and Investment. For Nigeria to survive, we need a company like LADOL.
“Local content is the best way forward not only for Nigeria but all countries around the world. Things that were done by foreigners previously are not being done by Nigerians. Local content improves the capability of Nigerians by giving them more opportunities. Local content is cheap to manage,” said Jadesimi who commended the Nigeria Contents Development Board (NLCDB) over various initiatives to drive and grow the local content policy of the government.
On the impact of Covid-19 on LADOL, she noted that the pandemic affected all economies of the world but the company, according to her, continued to work despite the lockdown without sacking staff though some staff left voluntarily. She added that the company put necessary Covid-19 preventive measures in place and also empowered its host communities on ways to overcome the disease.
“What we did was to reduce our costs. I would not say COVID saved us money but coming out of the Covid-19 we have a lot of opportunities. In 2020, we did not release any staff but some actually left voluntarily. We are intending to bring in more staff as soon as the economy improves. We hope by Q4 the economy will experience a scale up. It is very tough,” said the LADOL boss.
For Nigeria to maximize the opportunities and gains of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Jadesimi said Nigeria activated the agreement at the right and showed some levels of caution which erased the initial fear of turning Nigeria into a dumpsite of sorts of goods and products. She however advised the government to create more schemes and programmes that could facilitate the private sector to drive the projects
She expressed concern over the delay of the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by the National Assembly saying “The delay of the passage is affecting the whole country and her economy. We have some powerful people who influence things using the divide and conquer approach to frustrate the PIB. They won’t want it to be passed because they want to keep the Nigerian petroleum market small for their selfish interest alone. Passage of the PIB will make our market big and attractive. The passage should be quickly done. We are going through a very difficult time; we don’t a luxury of time to play with the issue.”
According to her, the Nigerian port and maritime industry could add more to the economy better than other sectors taking into account its huge potentials. But she did not agree with the opinion that the ports are dominated by foreigners as long as the foreigners are doing the right things and Nigerians are the ones driving its local contents.
“I don’t care much but what matters most is the impact and local contents. Foreign companies in the industry must encourage and be part of local content development. Nigerian maritime could add more to the economy than other sectors. Compared maritime potentials with our large population, it means we have a big market,” Jadesimi noted.
She said that the ISO certification of LADOL has impacted positively on its ethics of operations and every staff has imbibed them. ‘Our staff understands that all the ISO Certificates are a way of life. These standards are very useful and impactful on how our company operates.”