Investment advisors and other maritime operators have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene on the alleged high charges investors are made to endure at the Tarkwa Bay base of Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics (LADOL).
The operators have raised issues about the high cost of land per square metre, and the high cost of boat services in the free zone. They claimed these charges have scared potential investors who are willing to invest.
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Our findings show that LADOL demands a $15 free zone entry and exit fee per person daily; annual $6 million passenger jetty service fee even when the value of the jetty is below $600,000.
Every investor at the place would pay $160,000 annual fee to station four armed guards while the zone operator pays below $10,000 on these guards.
An operator said unlike other free zones in the country, LADOL base is under lease to a private zone operator, which compels potential investors to negotiate with the zone operator instead of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
Some of the operators pointed out that the high charges imposed on oil and gas industry stakeholders at the Lagos free zone are passed on to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by the free zone operator and subsequently paid by the federal government.
A maritime expert and Lagos-based lawyer, Mr Kingsley Omose, said, “If the federal government and the NNPC want to slash production cost for a barrel of crude oil, they should look at the operations and charges of the likes of LADOL who are tenants of NPA but whose exorbitant charges are paid by federal government through NNPC’s majority stakes in the joint venture oil operations of the international oil companies (IOCs).”
Spokesman for LADOL, Kunle Kalejaiye, who was contacted by our reporter for comment, promised to get back. However, his response was still being awaited as at the time of this report.