Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday said his administration has already embarked on reform aimed at generating 3000MW of power within the next few years, adding that the initiative, which is of course, would go a long way in scaling up the State’s economy and make life more comfortable for the people.
Speaking in Ikeja while declaring open the 7th Annual Public Lecture of the Lagos State Public Service Chapter (LSPSC) of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) with the theme “Lagos@50: Unlocking Its Economic Potentials For Sustainable Development,” Governor Ambode said that adequate power supply was a key factor needed to unlock the economic potentials of the State, saying that the sector remained strategic in reducing the cost of doing business and improving the living condition of Lagosians.
He described the theme of the lecture as apt and in sync with the resolve of his administration to identify, explore and exploit the untapped potentials of the Lagos economy, which according to him, was why the State Government was adopting the approach of strategic, innovative and long term thinking and planning.
The Governor added that with high population growth of 3.2 per cent annually, high immigration rate estimated to be one of the highest in the world and rapid urbanization, the State Government was not oblivious to the fact that the most effective and efficient way to unlock the economic potentials of Lagos is to open up the economy for private enterprise to thrive, which was why his administration had been delivering first class infrastructure and putting in place right policies to ensure business-friendly environment.
Besides, Governor Ambode attributed the massive projects ongoing at the eastern and western axis of the State as well as Lagos Marina and Onikan to the resolve of his administration to unlock the tourism, entertainment and arts potentials of the State which he said were also critical.
According to the Governor, “Our smart city initiative will help to ensure that the State is cleaner, safer, productive and then more resilient thereby making the State more attractive for Foreign Direct Investment.
“Upon assumption of office in 2015, our administration created the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment and subsequently launched the N25bilion Employment Trust Fund and as at today, over 3000 entrepreneurs have benefited from the fund through access to low-cost credit for their business.
“Lagos State is also actively involved in the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN), a body comprising all the South-Western States. Though DAWN and other platforms, we are working on a collaborative development plan, a regional economic integration which will help to minimize some of our current challenges such as high immigration, infrastructure deficit, and traffic congestion,” he said.
Aside from the regional collaboration, Governor Ambode said his administration has also entered into several partnerships locally and internationally, while the Lake Rice project which had been very successful is being taken to a new level with the establishment of value chain for agricultural commodities like rice, groundnut, pepper, among others.
“Our government is committed to diversifying the Lagos economy and open it up to the world. Through the office of Transformation and Innovation, we are continually improving the ease of doing business in the State. Consequently, we are continually open to welcoming and partnering with international investors and development partners towards achieving sustainable economic and social development,” he said.
While stating that government alone could not implement all the reforms, Governor Ambode urged accountants in the State public service to see themselves as key stakeholders in bringing about the desired outcome.
He particularly charged them to be the best in their endeavors and help to strengthen the financial base of the State to facilitate execution of infrastructural projects vital to economic growth and development.
Earlier, ICAN President, Mallam Isma’ila Zakari described Lagos State as a typical example of sustainable development in Nigeria, adding that it was important for other States in the country to learn from the experience of the State and apply same to address their challenges.
Zakari, who was represented by Dr. Innocent Okwuosa, said: “Lagos is a shining example in Nigeria. If every other State in Nigeria follows what Lagos is doing, perhaps all the issues confronting us as a nation would have been resolved. Lagos has gotten human capital and good leadership exemplified by the accountant at the helm of affairs in the State.
“Sustainable development is inclusive development and that is what Lagos is doing,” Zakari said while assuring that the deliberations at the lecture would be properly documented and put into consideration by the Council.
In his welcome address, LSPSC Chairman, Mr Hakeem Alade Tairu said the lecture was significant coming at a time when the State is witnessing tremendous development in all sections and sectors of its economy under the leadership of a former distinguished member of the chapter in person of Governor Ambode, who he described as a man with a Midas touch, a seasoned technocrat, exceptional leader and a seasoned accountant with a positive difference.