The Lagos State Government on Sunday advised investors in the Lekki Free Trade Zone, LFTZ, to step up their Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) to their host communities, to secure their investments.
Popson Jaiyesimi, Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Lekki Worldwide Investments Ltd, gave the advice at a three-day workshop on “Communication and Team Skills in Effective Interfacing on Community Service and Relations” for stakeholders in Lagos.
Mr. Jaiyesimi said that CSR was critical and could not be neglected by investors willing to secure their investments.
According to him, the Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration is passionate about the investment in the corridor of the zone, as it is the future hub of commerce and industry in Africa.
“We have a strategic plan to move Lekki Worldwide Investments Ltd forward, which was why we decided that there should be a workshop on information sharing between the investors and the communities. We are just the moderators.
“The governor is quite keen on this project because the Lekki Free Trade Zone is the future of Nigeria businesses and it is a product of research.
“The fundamental thing is to make sure that there is security and this can be achieved when the communities are working in tandem with the investors,” he said.
Mr. Jaiyesimi stated that government had understudied the Niger Delta crisis and what led to the agitation, saying that government would find a way to address the needs of the people in Lekki, to ensure that the projects in the area were not truncated.
He said that the coordinated efforts of all stakeholders in the area of CSR was required to ensure that the goal of the Lagos megacity was achieved, thereby guaranteeing prosperity for investors and the communities.
He added that community development projects through CSR must meet the people’s needs for lasting appreciation and goodwill.
“The government had done a need assessment of the communities and found out that what was paramount among their needs was employment for their children by the investors, but lamented that in some cases their children were not qualified for the jobs.
“Conscious efforts should be made by the investors to educate and train children from the host communities on the skills and competencies they needed to be gainfully employed in their establishments, ” he said.
Also speaking, Gokil Rajan, Operational Head, Lekki Free Trade Zone, said that part of its CSR to the communities was in the area of ensuring health, hygiene and sanitation.
He said that the organisation had reduced open defecation in schools through the construction of toilets.
In his remarks, the Group General Manager, Corporate Relations, Dangote Oil Refining Company Ltd, Yinka Akande, said the importance of the community keying into investors’ projects in Lekki could not be over-emphasised.
Mr. Akande said that any investor willing to make an impact must relate with the host communities in order to secure the project.
He said failure to cooperate with the host communities could impede the project, with the investors losing a large chunk of their investments.
A community leader in the area, Ayodele Olayinka, said the over 200 communities in the Lekki corridor fully supported government’s efforts to develop the LFTZ, as it would impact positively on the lives of people in the area.
Mr. Olayinka appealed to the state government to give them the land which had been earmarked for them, after they were made to relinquish their original land.