Lekki Free Trade Zone is the most popular free zone in Nigeria and one of the fastest growing free zones in the world, according to a report by the World Bank.
Lekki Free zone is a special economic zone - also called Export Processing Zone, with none to minimal custom restrictions.
Aerial view of Lekki Free Zone
To manage the general and specialized Export Processing Zones in Nigeria, the government has formed two bodies to oversee these zones and the various companies in these free zones.
These bodies include:
1.) Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) for all the general-purpose export Free Zones.
2.) Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority (OGFZA) is dedicated to the Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone.
The Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) is managed and controlled by NEPZA and is located 60 km east of Lagos on a sandy peninsula with the Atlantic Ocean to the south and Lekki Lagoon to the north.
The development objective of The Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) project is to “establish a free economic zone and an international city with multi-functions of industry, commerce, trade, tourism, recreation and residence to attract foreign investment, create employment and expedite economic growth”.
The Lagos State government allocated 16,500 ha of land of which 3,000 ha has been officially transferred to the developer so far. The Lagos State Government’s equity share is in return for providing the land and the 50-year right to operate the zone to the all partners.
These partners include: The Chinese Consortium, Tolaram, Rendevour and Dangote Refinery.
The State Government is also contributing towards the construction costs of the zone infrastructure, together with the developer.
The 16,500-hectare Lekki Free Zone has been divided into two peninsulas: parcel A and parcel B, which are the Northern and Southern peninsulas respectively. They are managed by different partners. The zone is further divided into 4 quadrants/phases, namely:
The first cluster/zone - the Southwest Quadrant is owned by a joint venture between a Chinese consortium - China-Africa Lekki Investment Co. Ltd (CALIC) (60 percent), the Lagos State Government (20 percent) and its sub- entity, Lekki Worldwide Investment Ltd (20 percent).
The Chinese consortium CALIC is an investment holding company registered in China solely for the purpose of investing in the Lekki Free Trade Zone. CALIC consists of CRCC (35 percent), CADF (20 percent), Nanjing Jiangying Economic and Technology Development Corporation (NJETDC, 15 percent) Nanjing Beyond Investments Limited (NBIL, 15 percent) and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Ltd (CCECC, 15 percent).
Lekki Worldwide Investments is an investment company, owned largely by the Lagos State Government: 40 percent of Lekki Worldwide Investments is owned by LSDPC, the Lagos State Government Development Corporation, with another 40 percent owned by Ibile Holdings, the investment company of Lagos State.
The quadrant is further divided into 6 functional clusters. The quadrant is planned to ensure a good transport network between clusters and proper service facilities for all of them.
According to the Lekki free zone master plan, it is divided into three parts which are the residential district in the north, industrial district in the middle and the commercial, trading and logistics district in the south-east. In the year 2007, it was officially approved by the Chinese ministry of commerce and heralded as the “Overseas Economic and Trade Co-operation Zone”.
Presently, 30 square kilometres of this free zone will be developed according to the four phases based on four major sectors of investment.
On development, the first sector will represent the commercial service are and will comprise markets, amusement park, hotel, cultural centre, golf course, hospital and school.
The other three sectors would be a general development area in the north, the industrial park in the south-west and the logistics and warehousing area in the south-east.
The first phase will be home to manufacturing, warehousing, logistics industries, as well as commercial and trading investors.
Phase 1 of the Lekki Free Zone covers an area of 3000 hectares with an intended population of about 120,000 residents.
According to the Lekki Free Zone Development Company, pricing on land in the zone is calculated per square metre. For real estate properties, the cost is $60 per square metre while industrial land costs $200 per square metre.
The final aim is to transform the Lekki Free Zone into a modern day multi-functional township. It would comprise proper infrastructure for commercial purposes as well as residential purposes.
This would be done by turning LFTZ into a satellite city of Lagos. This city will be suitable both for trading and setting up industries as well as appropriate for taking up residence.
This section of the Lekki Free Zone is meant for petrochemical-related industries. It is the location of the newly commissioned Dangote refinery.
One of the most significant developments within the Lekki Free Trade Zone, the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Plant, is owned by Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote.
This mega-project is set to become the largest single-train refinery in the world upon completion. With a refining capacity of 650,000 barrels per day, the refinery will not only meet Nigeria’s domestic demand for petroleum products but also position the country as a major exporter.
In 2013 Dangote announced that he would be building the world’s largest single-train refinery in Ibeju Lekki spanning 2,635ha.
Almost nearing completion and commisioned in May 2023, what started as a proposed $9b dollar investment in 2013 to be delivered in a few years has turned into a decade and counting with over $14bn-$18bn invested so far. It is still going to take a while to be commisioned. Experts predict 2025.
This section is another phase of the Lekki Freezone intended for mixed-use industrial activities after the Southwest quadrant. Development and construction of this quadrant is ongoing and christened Alaro City.
The North-west quadrant is managed by Rendeavour, one of Africa’s largest developers. It is a partership between Rendeavour and Lagos State Government, through their subsidiary, North West Quadrant Development Company (NWQDC), conceived Alaro City as a 2,000-hectare, market-led project.
All the free zones are managed by various operators and what sets Alaro city apart from the other free zone managed by Lekki Free Zone Development Company (LFZDC) is that it is the only Free Zone along the Lekki-Epe corridor.
Also, per the master plan Alarocity seems more organized and the investors and partners involved are are not majorly Chinese but from a diverse background of Norwegian, American, British investors and partners.
Alaro city, the major residential section of the Lekki Free trade zone contains areas of mixed and commercial use and is home to exciting industrial, residential and infrastructural developments.
This free trade zone has tons of incentives that is attracting investments from all over the world with 60+ businesses already present and more coming by the day.
These are some of the specific incentives for companies and residents in Alaro City;
These and more are reasons to invest in alarocity.
The city is conveniently situated along the Lekki-Epe Expressway for ease of transportation through Lagos-Epe-Ogun to the rest of the country.
The largest Deep-Sea Port in West Africa is currently under construction and located to the south of the city and a bridge links Alarocity to other Free zones namely Dangote Refinery, The Freezone by LFZDC.
Also adjacent, to the north of Alarocity is international airport over 2000 hectares is at planning stage and will be located adjacent to the Alaro city along the Lekki Epe expressway.
150 hectares of the city would be dedicated to parks, greenery and open spaces
|Plot Type||Size (SQM)||Price ($)||Payment Plan|
|Low Density||500||60,500||12 months|
|Low Density||750||90,750||12 months|
|Low Density||1000||121,000||12 months|
|Medium Density||500||67,500||12 months|
|High Density||1000+||150,000||12 months|
Universal One city in Alaro City
This part of the city combines different uses, such as workplaces, shops, homes, community spaces, and places for fun activities. It is the administrative quadrant that will oversee the activities of all the other freezones.
Located near the water, it is designed to be a new town. It will serve as the central area for the city administration, business activities, and residential centre in Lekki Freezone.It is currently undeveloped as the govenrment hasn’t released next steps regarding development and specific use.
It is possible this land might be opened up for sales later on as Rendevour, the developers of Alarocity, initially acquired 1000hectares and after a while, indicated interest in 1000 more, which the Lagos state government acquiesced to. This 1000 more likely came from the Northeast axis.
Another noteworthy development in the Lekki Free Trade Zone is the construction of the Lekki Deep Sea Port. This deepwater port project is being built to accommodate larger vessels and increase the maritime capabilities of Nigeria. Once completed, it will serve as a significant gateway for international trade and boost the efficiency of cargo handling in the region.
16.5 metres deep with a capacity of 18,000 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent units) - it is going to be the largest Deep Sea Port in West Africa opening up access for export to West Africa and beyond; easing the enormous strain at Tin Can and Apapa ports.
It has been commissioned, by former President Buhari - and is expected to be fully functional in no distant time.
The Lekki International Airport is a proposed airport that will be situated 10km from the Lekki Free Zone with a capacity of 5 million passengers annually.
The expected cost of the first phase of the project is 71.64 billion naira ($450 million). The airport will serve as a major development considering the demand for alternative travel in the zone.
The Lekki Free Trade Zone is already making an impact on the real estate industry in the country. This is due to the large-scale nature of the project. What does this mean for the Ibeju Lekki area in Lagos state?
The Ibeju Lekki area was already becoming a popular choice for investment in the state, even before the completion of the Lekki Free Trade Zone.
Since the future of the area looks promising, it’s not surprising to see land for sale in Ibeju Lekki and its surrounding areas.
Additionally, due to the many opportunities in the area, it has become a desirable place for residential purposes. Living near a thriving business hub is a good idea for the future.
Free Zones are also called Exporting Processing Zones (EPZ) .
Some of the special benefits of enterprizes established in freezones in Nigeria include:
The enterprises established in Export Processing Zones are exempt from any legal provisions relating to taxes, levies, tariffs, and applicable foreign exchange laws.
All foreign capital investments, along with their capital gains, may be sent back at any time. Foreign investors may send any profits and dividends they get back to their home country.
A company does not need an import or export license if established in one of the FTZs.
A business operating in the free zone can sell 25% of its overall output into Nigeria by acquiring legitimate permission and paying the necessary charges.
The company under construction is not required to pay any rent throughout the construction phase. Instead, the rent will be decided by NEPZA once the company starts operating.
Depending on the type of business and the decisions of the relevant government, foreign ownership of a company up to 100% is allowed. A business founded in a free zone is permitted to hire competent employees and managers from abroad.
The NEPZA has liberalized regulations and simplified the approval and investment processes in EPZs.
In Nigeria, EPZs are close to seaports, have good road connections, and are connected to several airports.
A major advantage of forming a business in an EPZ is that the Nigeria Export Processing Zone Act forbids employees from organizing any lockouts or strikes during the 10 years of the official opening of a company.
By providing the provision of no strikes or lockouts within ten years of the inauguration of the business, LFTZ ensures that there would be no hindrances in the working of a company
All approved businesses created in EPZ are exempt from the expatriate quota, according to NEPZ legislation. However, according to the expatriate quota, a company can only engage an expatriate if competent Nigerians can fill the post.
The free zone comprises, state of the art infrastructure and all supporting services that can be required by a business.
The free zone is very near to the city of Lagos (50km) and only 10km from the newly developed Lekki International Airport.
The free zone is connected to all the major cities via roadways, railways, airways and waterways.
LFTZ consists of its power plant, and there is an abundance of water in the zone, as it is close to the atlantic and lagoon. Also, major mobile telecommunication already have their networks in the region.
The development of a one-stop service centre in the Free zone, will significantly decrease the time taken by the various procedures for setting up a business by an entrepreneur. There would be onsite processing of taxes and levies, which would allow the company to commence its business activities promptly.
The Free zones are attracting Foreign Investors in their droves; seeing the various benefits of investing in the Lekki free zone such as he secured business proceedings, fantastic connectivity and numerous other benefits.
Speedy and ready authorizations would be given to all the investors in the free zone in all the procedures which a company needs to conduct. This would significantly decrease the time taken to perform a particular process for the company.
100% Foreign Ownership is allowed. According to Nigerian law, 100% foreign ownership in a business is not possible anywhere in the country except the free zones. The foreigners can also avail 100% repatriation of all earned profits and dividends.
Employment opportunities are inceasing as more businesses, companies and offices migrating into the zone, need to employ more hands. This means that employment opportunities will be on the rise and thus encourage mass migration into the area.
Land Appreciation is expected as properties in the area will only keep appreciating in value. This will be due to the the increase in demand for residential homes, and as more people come, leisure places will be abundant in the zone.
Land and property owners in the zone have already started reaping the benefits of the increase in demand for living and operation spaces in the zone, and according to World Bank that describes the zone as “the fastest free zone in the world”, this demand is expected to keep increasing.
Already, there are a combined number of 80 private businesses across all the Free Zones: Alaro City, Free Trade Zone by LFZDC; that are registered free zone enterprises in the different Free zones in Lagos already poised to benefit from these amazing benefits.
Outside The Lekki Freezone; Nigeria has about 19 of such free zones. Here is an extensive list of free zones in Nigeria:
|S/N||Name||Location||Size||Year of Designation||Specialty|
|1||Calabar Freezone||Cross River||-||1992||Federal Government|
|2||Kano Freezone||Kano||-||1998||Federal Government|
|3||Sebore Farms Export Processing Zone||Adamawa||14,000||2001||Private|
|4||Lagos Free Trade Zone (Tolaram)||Lagos||-||2002||State and Private|
|5||Newrest Airline Services & Logistics Free Zone||Lagos||10,092||2003||Private|
|6||ALSCON Export Processing Zone||Akwa Ibom||-||2004||Public Private Partnership|
|7||Snake Island Integrated Free Zone||Lagos||-||2005||Private|
|8||Ladol Free Trade Zone||Lagos||-||2006||Private|
|9||Lekki Free Trade Zone (Lfzdc)||Lagos||3000||2008||State Government & Private|
|10||Ogun Guangdong Free Trade Zone||Ogun||-||2008||Public Private Partnership|
|11||Nigeria Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Free Trade Zone||Lagos||-||2014||Private|
|12||Nigeria International Commerce City (Eko Atlantic)||Lagos||600,000||2014||Private|
|13||Enugu Industrial Park Free Zone||Enugu||76||2015||Public Private Partnership|
|14||Newrest Airline Services & Logistics Free Zone||Abuja||-||2015||Public Private Partnership|
|15||Quits Aviation Services||Lagos||-||2017||Private|
|16||Dangote Industries Free Zone Development Company||Lagos||-||2018||Private|
|17||AHL Energy Free Trade Zone||Delta||-||2020||Private|
|18||Bundu Free Zone||Rivers||-||2.4||Private|
|19||Celplas Industries Free Zone||Ogun||-||2020||Private|