An Assessment of the Socio-economic Benefits of Lekki Free Trade Zone to the host Communities in Lagos, Nigeria.

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Submission Summary
The Chinese economic zones spurred the Nigerian government to embark on operation of free trade zones of which the Lekki free trade zone (LFTZ) is a part. LFTZ like every other free trade zones hoped to enrich the economy and particularly open up new areas for development opportunity. Ideally, when free zones are located where land have been acquired for such, compensation of the affected parties becomes necessary. How much compensation is not the goal of this research but to assess the supposed benefits of the LFTZ to the host communities. To do this, a sample size of 184 respondents from 9 communities was derived using the Cochran’s formula. Two types of sampling methods were used that is the probability sampling and non-probability sampling. For the former, the stratified and the systematic random sampling were used while the latter adopts the use of accidental random sampling. Data were collected with the use of structured questionnaires and a Focus Group Discussion and a Key Informant Interview conducted. These data were analyzed using indexes to compare the benefits across communities. The indexes considered are the Socio-Economic Index (SCI), Environmental Index (EI) and Project Benefit Index (PBI). These indexes were weighed against a number of indicators. The SCI for example examined indicators like loss of livelihood, increase in transport cost, goods and services, increase in land value and unemployment amongst others. The EI considers indicators such as loss of farmland, deforestation, water and air quality as well as flooding. The PBI on the other hand assesses indicators such as employment creation, access to health and educational facilities, and security. In the end it was revealed that although there is significant attraction of investment in the region but the actual socio-economic benefits to the host communities is quite insignificant. For instance, arguments against the FTZs include increase in unskilled workers, unemployment, decrease in forward and backward linkage among others. According to Amirahmad & Wu (1995), FTZs are capable of disrupting agricultural sector, increase unemployment because the zone attracts rural workers who lack the required skills to be employed in the zone. These are some of the problems evident in the host communities. To understand the socio-economic benefits of the LFTZ to the host communities, the MoU between the communities’ representatives and the Lagos state Government, the Ibeju Lekki Local Government council and Lekki Worldwide Investment Limited signed in 2007 was examined. This was also compared with the result of the focus group discussion conducted. This gave an insight to what the communities are intentional about which is inclusiveness. Summarily, the communities want to foster a more cordial relationship between them and the operators of LFTZ. They want to be more involved in the project and actually know their stake in this investment so that their generation yet unborn can benefit from their ancestral land. It is recommended that the government as well as policy makers should abide strictly to the terms agreed to by the affected parties according to what was signed in the memorandum of understanding. This will prevent the likely occurrence of incessant clashes over land, conflict and other related crisis that may occur from aggrieved parties. By so doing the overall motive for the creation of the zone will optimally be achieved.
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3: Smartness and development. Al-Souq: innovating for performance and management
University of Lagos Nigeria
University of Lagos Nigeria

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