Nigeria: Puncturing Ladol's Indigenous Ownership Claim

12 December 2019

The Managing Director of the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistic Base (LADOL), Dr. Amy Jadesimi, recently shocked her international audience in Madrid, Spain, when she claimed that "Eighty per cent of the 680 million new jobs the world needs will be created by Small and Medium Enterprises (SME's) and larger indigenous companies such as LADOL."

According to a statement issued by her company, which was published in the media, Jadesimi, spoke at the 19th Edition of the International Economic Forum on Africa with the theme: "African Integration: Investing in our common future."

LADOL's claim to indigenous status has since been punctured like a balloon when it was revealed in the media recently that the two foreign companies that allegedly own the 84 per cent stake in LADOL are Sable Offshore Investment Limited, registered in British Virgin Island, and Alsba Ventures, also registered in the British Virgin Island.

By Nigeria's company laws, particularly the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), when two foreign companies establish a company in Nigeria, the new entity can be rightly regarded as a foreign company.

In view of the foregoing, LADOL's claim of indigenous ownership cannot stand the test of time.

However, it is not a crime to operate in Nigeria as a foreign company because the aspiration of President Muhammadu Buhari's administration has always been to attract as many foreign companies into Nigeria as possible to stimulate the Nigerian economy.

But what is worrisome is when foreign company lay claim to indigenous ownership just to take advantage of the huge opportunities meant for local entities in the Nigerian Oil and Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act of 2010.

LADOL cannot morally claim indigenous ownership when its unfriendly practices have frustrated other foreign entities operating in the free zone.

Indigenous companies don't chase away foreign companies. They rather build alliances and partnerships with foreign multinationals to develop their own capacities and grow into big entities.

One of the major challenges in Jadesimi's claims was the calibre of international audience at the panel session, including Arkebe Oqubay (Senior Minister and Special Adviser to the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Ethiopia); Jong-Dae Park (Ambassador of the Republic of Korea in the Republic of South Africa); Felix Fernández-Shaw (Director Development and International Co-operation, EU); and the moderator, María Teresa Fernández De La Vega (Chair, Women's foundation for Africa).

Jadesimi was very honest when she told her audience that "investors have attracted $500 million into the zone, transforming a disused swamp into a world class integrated logistics base and the largest fabrication and integration yard in West Africa, with the highest lifting capacity in Africa".

Indeed, one or two foreign investors transformed this empty "disused swamp" called LADOL free zone to a world-class investment hub hosting the only fabrication and integration yard in Africa.

However, what she did not tell her audience, even though most of the participants are aware, is that LADOL has been frustrating the investors who committed this $500 million investment in the free zone.

The questions being asked by some of the investors that watched her presentation are: If LADOL could frustrate the investors who committed such funds in the free zone, how would it be possible for her to convince other foreign investors that the free zone is a good destination for investment?

How can a company, which has gained notoriety for frustrating other investors, leading to massive loss of jobs, be counted among the companies that would create 680 million new jobs for the world?

Oghenevwogagan, an investment advisor, writes from Warri

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