By Lukman Olabiyi
President Muhammadu Buhari has affirmed his administration’s commitment in positioning Lagos State to attract investors, in order to boost the economy.
Buhari stated that Federal Government would continue to support more investments in the state to boost its economic potential as one of the world’s fastest growing megacities.
The President stated this in his goodwill message at the ongoing “Ehingbeti Lagos Economic Summit 2021 with the theme “ Setting the tone for a greater Lagos’
Buhari said his administration recognises Lagos as central to the economic fortunes of Nigeria and has in the last few years demonstrated commitment to supporting it unleash its full socio-economic potential.
‘’One of the significant ways in which our support has manifested to Lagos State is in the special federal funding that we approved in 2020 in acknowledgement of the state being an epicentre of the Coronavirus pandemic.
‘’The challenges of Lagos must therefore be very clearly seen as part of the challenges of Nigeria, and the Federal Government will support Lagos to overcome its challenges and to thrive socially and economically.
‘’The Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) is investing in the reconstruction of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, while the Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki Expressway is a flagship project of our Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme, also known as Executive Order 7 of 2019. ‘’It was also this administration which granted approval to the Lagos State government to rebuild the International Airport Road, a major road that links the busiest airport in Sub-Saharan Africa to the continent’s fifth largest economy.
‘’The Federal Government is today completing the Standard Gauge Railway Line that will link Lagos to Ibadan in the first instance, and from there connect to Abuja and Kano, and bring ease and efficiency to what is Nigeria’s busiest transportation corridor. ‘’Just last month, this new Rail Line achieved a milestone extension into the Port Complex in Apapa, setting the stage for a long overdue decongestion in that area,’’ he said.
The newly elected Director-General (DG) of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has charged the state government to invest heavily in youth and technology in order to boost the state economy.
Okonjo Iweala, who was among the guest speakers at the event, said the bedrock of any strong economy across the globe were the youth and technology. She disclosed in a virtual questions and answers with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. The incomingWTO boss, while reeling out recipe on how to boost the economy, said apart from construction of roads, Lagos should invest in technology such as broadband for every household, embrace artificial Intelligence and digital economy, ensure steady and sustainable supply of electricity and renewable energy to remain competitive in the next decade.
She added the state should harness the youths by providing employment. She further stated the state should move from importing raw materials but exporting primary raw products to value and processing, to industrialize Africa. In his contributions, the President, African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, said the youths are the asset of the state and should be given chance.
He said the state should also invest in education by turning tertiary institutions in the state to world class.
“Youths are not the problem of Lagos, they are the assets. The slogan should not be the young shall grow, but the youths has arrived. Youths do not need empowerment or handouts, what they need is investment.
“ The poverty level in Lagos has reduced from 30.3% in 2009 to 4.5% in 2019. 20% lives in slum. A prosperous Lagos will bring a healthier Lagos. A lot need to be done in tertiary education especially in science. We must turn tertiary institutions in Lagos to world class.
The climate situation in Lagos should be attended to urgently. There is slow need to invest more in transport system,” he said.
“ He further said:” Private sector need to be mobilised to support the new Lagos. The taxes of the state belongs to the people. There must be accountability for taxes collected. I see a greater Lagos , a Lagos where visions are turned into reality and where women and youths thrives.”
Meanwhile, the state governor, Mr Sanwo-Olu has disclosed that Agege Pencinema bridge
will be commissioned this Saturday, .
The governor said the construction of the bridge was one of numerous results of the past Eghingbeti summit and a reflection of the public private partnership of the state government.