Businesses Face Many Challenges In Nigeria, Says US Envoy

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The United States Consul General in Nigeria, Claire Pierangelo, has said that businesses in Nigeria face many challenges, while expressing optimism that the Lagos Free Zone provides opportunities for businesses to thrive.

This was disclosed in a statement by the US Mission following a meeting with delegates comprising representatives of the America Business Council and United States Consulate General Lagos to assess the Lagos Free Zone and under-construction Lekki Deep Sea Port.

The statement said the visit was to review the benefits of the initiatives for US businesses and showcase those that have already availed themselves to them.

Pierangelo said, “There are many challenges that businesses face here in Nigeria, but the Free Zone and Lekki Deepwater Sea Port represent great strides forward.

“These projects have, very systematically and thoughtfully, created an enabling environment where many other businesses can thrive.”

The $1.5bn Lekki Deep Sea Port and associated LFZ is an integral part of the federal and state governments’ effort to capture trade in West Africa.

The first phase of the port is scheduled to become operational in 2022. It sits on over 350 hectares located approximately 65km east of Lagos, well-positioned to serve all parts of the country and the West African region.

It is projected that upon completion, the port will have a container terminal covering an area of 50 hectares with two container berths capable of accommodating ultra large ships transporting over 14,000 containers.

Pierangelo, while commending the leadership of Tolaram Group, the promoter of LFZ, reiterated the commitment of the US Mission in Nigeria to facilitate US investments in Nigeria for the mutual benefit of both nations through continuous engagement.

President of the American Business Council, Mr Dipo Faulkner, said Kellogg’s and Colgate-Palmolive were “two key American brands thriving in Nigeria despite the numerous business challenges” and encouraged more US companies to see the LFZ as a solution to overcoming these challenges.

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

He urged the Nigerian government to intensify its efforts to boost the viability of foreign businesses within the country.

Key personnel in the delegation included Ashish Khemka (CFO FTZ); Prem Krishna (Head Marketing, FTZ); Mark Stuart (Project Manager, Louis Berger); Jennifer Woods (U.S. Commercial Counselor), David Russell (U.S. 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).

– Punch

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