Businesses face many challenges in Nigeria, says US envoy

Stephen Agwaibor

United States Consul General in Nigeria Claire Pierangelo said that businesses in Nigeria face many challenges and was optimistic that the Lagos Free Zone offers business opportunities.

This was announced in a US Mission statement following a meeting with delegates comprised of representatives from the America Business Council and the US Consulate General in Lagos to assess the Lagos Free Zone and the Lekki Deep Sea Port under construction.

The statement said the visit was to review the benefits of the initiatives for U.S. businesses and highlight those who have already taken advantage of them.

Pierangelo said, “Businesses face many challenges here in Nigeria, but the Free Zone and Lekki Deepwater Sea Port represent great strides.

“These projects have been very systematic and well thought out to create a conducive environment in which many other companies can thrive.”

The $ 1.5 billion Lekki Deep Sea Port and associated LFZ are an integral part of the efforts of federal and state governments to capture trade in West Africa.

The port’s first phase is scheduled to go into operation in 2022. It sits on over 350 hectares approximately 65 km east of Lagos and is well positioned to serve all parts of the country and the West African region.

After completion, the port is expected to have a container terminal with an area of ​​50 hectares and two container berths, in which ultra-large ships with more than 14,000 containers can be accommodated.

Pierangelo commended the leadership of the Tolaram Group, the sponsor of the LFZ, and reaffirmed the commitment of the US Mission to Nigeria to facilitate US investments in Nigeria for mutual benefit through continued engagement.

American Business Council President Dipo Faulkner said Kellogg’s and Colgate-Palmolive are “two major American brands that thrive in Nigeria despite the many business challenges it faces,” and encouraged more US companies to use LFZ as a solution to these challenges to see.

Tolaram Group’s CEO, Mr. Dinesh Rathi, assured that the company will conduct its business in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner for the benefit of Nigeria and its stakeholders.

He called on the Nigerian government to step up its efforts to make foreign companies more viable in the country.

Key figures in the delegation included Ashish Khemka (CFO FTZ); Prem Krishna (Head of Marketing, FTZ); Mark Stuart (project manager, Louis Berger); Jennifer Woods (US Commercial Advisor), David Russell (US Commercial Attaché); Margaret Olele (CEO of ABC); Wole Abayomi (KPMG); Uwa Osa-Oboh (Capital Alliance); John Edokpolo (Microsoft); Sola Obabori (RedStar); Abdelaziz Saidu (Cisco); Womo Diriyal (Duns and Bradstreet); Rita Amuchienwa (Intel); Abi Haruna (Oracle); and Kofo Ayodele (Abbott).

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