The United State Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has commended the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL) as a safe haven for investment and having great capacity for job creation in the African sub-region.
This is coming just as the Federal government as well as Lagos and Oyo states governments have indicated interests in collaborating with the private oil and gas services yard in undertaking trainings and skills development for the youths.
Acting Director of USTDA, Mr. Thom Hardy, who expressed delight at the massive private investment when he led a five-man delegation to the LADOL Free Trade Zone in Apapa, Lagos, Friday, said the base would no doubt add value to youths development efforts of the Nigerian governments at various levels.
LADOL is currently playing host to the integration of a $3.8billion oil and gas exploration platform otherwise known as Egina project which has been described as first-of-its-kind in the Sub-Sahara Africa.
The Egina Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) project is being undertaken by Korea-based Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) for TOTAL Oil Exploration, with LADOL acting as the local content partner.
Speaking with journalists after the facility tour, the American envoy said his team was on a fact-finding mission to ascertain how businesses were carried out in Nigeria as to seek ways of encouraging American investors to invest in the country.
Hardy, who was recently appointed by Donald Trump, the U.S. President, noted that it would always take some time for outsiders to understand a country’s needs and its business modalities in order to spot out investment opportunities.
According to him, it was for this reason that the delegation visited LADOL for an on-the-spot assessment of business in the facility.
He made it clear that USTDA had been a long time partner of the oil and gas logistics firm, assisting it in the installation of its power plant, IT system, among others.
Mr. Hardy expressed optimism that United States’ investors would find the zone an interesting place to tap into.
On his part, the Executive Director of LADOL, Mr. Jide Jadesimi, who conducted the visitors round the facility, commended the team for the visit and expressed the hope that the USDTA would be of immense benefit to the organization in its capacity-building quest in the sector.
He said with the country’s huge population, if 2,000 people were trained in the facility, it would amount to a drop of water in the ocean, but when an agency like the USTDA got involved in partnering with industries across board, the impact would be felt well.
Earlier, the Executive Director had in similar vein received a joint team of Federal government officials as well as those of Lagos and Oyo states, who also came on facts –finding as to the reported skills development and capacity training potentials of the wholly indigenous company.
The Federal government team was led by Senior Special Adviser (SSA) to the Presidency on Jobs Creation and Youths Empowerment, Afolabi Imokhuede, alongside the Lagos state Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Babatunde Durosimi-Etti, as well as theSpecial Assistant to the Oyo state government on Education, Dr. Bc Akin-Alabi.
The Executive Director who lauded the teams’ visits also used the opportunity to ask the public sector to intensify their various collaborative efforts with the private sector, in capacity-building, especially in the oil and gas sector, which he noted offered huge opportunity for job creation.
He told the visitors that presently LADOL had created over 2,000 direct jobs and double of that figure as indirect ones, just as he disclosed that with the on-going FPSO facility project, an additional 1,500 jobs would be created in due course.
Mr. Jadesimi explained that work on the fabrication of the FPSO Egina project was at an advanced state, assuring that the base was fully ready to see the turnkey facility to an end.
He added that the fabrication of the project was very huge hence some components were being fabricated in a sister zone like the Snake Island also in Apapa, Lagos.