•Debt-to-revenue ratio now 22% – Sanwo-Olu
Lukman Olabiyi and Chinwendu Obienyi
To address the volume of traffic and eliminate perennial flooding issues, the Lagos State government, in partnership with Access Bank Plc, yesterday, unveiled the Victoria Island – Lekki Traffic Circulation Project which was flagged off in December last year, under a Public Infrastructure Improvement Partnership (PIIP) Programme.
Speaking at the commissioning of the project in Lagos, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the most critical challenge, experienced on daily basis by residents/road users along the Oniru axis was the heavy traffic volume and added that with the delivery of the project, there would be improved traffic flow, reduced travel time, and elimination of perennial flooding issues, which is a boost for health and socio-economic well-being of the people.
Sanwo-Olu said that despite the difficult health and economic challenges occasioned by the COVID 19 pandemic experienced worldwide in the last one year, his administration remains fully committed to bringing economic prosperity to Lagosians by developing and facilitating delivery of world class infrastructure to serve as the critical development driver of a Greater Lagos vision.
“Some of the roads delivered under the project are Ligali Ayorinde Muri Okunola – Aboyade Cole, Yesufu Abiodun Oniru, Ligali Ayorinde/Akinbolagbe/Okene among others”, he said.
While appreciating Access Bank Plc for their collaborative efforts in delivering the project, Sanwo-olu noted that with the partnership, Access Bank has reinforced the importance of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) at delivering public infrastructure. He noted that the government is willing to give incentives such as tax holidays and branding and advertisement concession to corporate organisations that are ready to partner with the government. He revealed that the debt-to-revenue ratio of the state has been reduced to 22 per cent from 29 per cent in the last one year while adding that the state’s budget is currently doing about 80-85 per cent on both recurrent and capital expenditure.
“As difficult as COVID-19 was, we were still able to do more capital projects than overhead as expected in some other government, we will continue to do more capital expenditure than overhead. We deliberately used our access to financial bodies, we have been able to reprise our numbers and now we have an opportunity that we are borrowing at single digit, we have said to ourselves, we will keep local borrowing and, in fact, we have reduced our debt-to-revenue ratio from 29 per cent to about 22 per cent in the last one year. This means that even in difficult times, we are belt tightening but delivering on the dividends of democracy to our citizens”, Sanwo-olu said.
In his address, the Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, while expressing pleasure at the delivery of such iconic project, said the bank cherish service, customer relationship and community service.