By RITA OKOYE
Federal Government has finally taken over the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex (LITFC), over alleged breach of agreement by the concessionaire, Aulic Nigeria Limited.
The take over was announced recently by the Executive Director/CEO, LITFC Management Board, Mrs. Lucy Ajayi, who said the need arose after the concessionaire breached the agreement by not remitting N6 billion in lease fees to the Federal Government.
The Federal Government through the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) had on August 23, 2017, terminated the concession agreement it signed with the concessionaire in 2007 for alleged breach of agreement.
Ajayi added that the contract was to be for 30 years, with the concessionaire paying N40 billion to government in contract sum in incremental form.
She said trouble started when the concessionaire refused to pay anything in the last three years, which would have been in the region of N3 billion as accumulated debt.
Ajayi also said the concessionaire reneged in all the agreements on developing the facility and bringing it up to international standard.
She regretted the parlous state of the purpose built complex.
She added that because of the concessionaire’s failure to deliver, tenants at LITC have been in bondage for nine years, as they have been deprived of the benefits of the contractual obligation from the concessionaire.
The LITFC CEO said with her coming, the contract with Aulic Nigeria Limited has being cancelled and in line with the government policy of ease of doing business, the facility will be turned round to support the various businesses going on in the complex, as she is ready for transparency in all aspects.
In addition, the Chairman, LITC Stakeholders Forum & Association of Progressive Traders, Dr. Jude Ringo Okeke, welcomed the government’s intervention.
He regretted that they have been stagnant for over 10 years as a result of the concessionaire’s failure to perform.
Okeke said the traders have lost countless customers as a result of the poor infrastructure provision, even though they are the gateway to the West African region and the South Eastern part of the country.
He asked the new management to speed infrastructure development to engender growth and commerce, noting that they have invested huge sums of money over the years.