Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN (3rd left), representative of the President and Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga (2nd right), Former United States Secretary of Energy and former Governor of New Mexico, USA, Mr. Bill Richardson (2nd left), Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun (left), his Ekiti State counterpart, Dr Kayode Fayemi (3rd right) and Deputy Governor of Lagos, Hon (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire (right) during the opening ceremony of the 6th Lagos Economic Summit tagged EHINGBETI 2012 with the theme, From Brics to Brincs: Lagos holds the key, held at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Monday, April 23, 2012.
WorldStage Newsonline-- Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Monday told a gathering of local and international investors and businessmen in Lagos that the State presents tremendous opportunities and possibilities for investment to those who wish to make good returns on their investments .
Governor Fashola, who spoke at the Eko Hotel and Suites venue of the 6th Lagos Economic Summit (EHINGBETI 2012), described the opportunities and possibilities as endless saying the most critical areas that offer themselves for investment at the moment are the Power Sector, Agriculture and agro-allied industries, Transportation and Housing which collectively forms the PATH economic growth.
Inviting the investors to take advantage of the dynamic Lagos market opportunities in PATH, Governor Fashola declared, “The opportunities are endless. We have seen them and we invite you to come along with us”, adding that investments in those areas would address the infrastructural gaps for the collective benefit of both the State and the investors.
“Our PATH to greatness compels us to follow our imagination through the provision of Power, the development of Agriculture, the provision of reliable Transportation systems and affordable Housing’, the Governor said, adding, “Your PATH to prosperity should compel you to follow your imagination and invest in these areas”.
On why the Government is zeroing in on Power, Agriculture, Transportation and Housing as critical areas of investment, Governor Fashola pointed out that investing in those areas would be the quickest way to economic recovery and poverty eradication.
‘We believe that investing our resources and time more aggressively in these key areas will be the quickest drivers for post-economic recovery and poverty eradication’, the Governor said adding that though there are challenges but the challenges inherently possess in them the opportunities for prosperity.
Explaining further the choice of the Summit’s theme, ‘From BRICS to BRINCS : Lagos Holds The Key’ and the reason for focussing on PATH, Governor Fashola said the path that would lead the country to BRINCS is laid out in the State. ‘Lagos is home to about 2,000 industrial complexes, 10,000 commercial ventures and 22 industrial estates. It contributes 30 percent to the nation’s GDP and is the leading contributor to the non-oil sector GDP’.
“Lagos accounts for over 60 percent of Nigeria’s industrial and commercial activities, 70 percent of national maritime cargo freight, over 80 percent of international aviation traffic, over 50 percent of Nigeria’s energy consumption’, the Governor further explained adding that such scale of activities lends more than enough credence that the State holds the key”, the Governor said.
According to the Governor, “The Government of Lagos State is responsible for over 18 million Nigerians and we take that responsibility very seriously. Those over 18 million Nigerians whose numbers are increasing daily, have different aspirations. Some are just looking for survival, some are looking for work and a better life and some already have work and seek, expectedly, to improve on what they have and make life even better for themselves,
“We are conscious of the fact that the best way to stimulate development is to create a conducive environment for business to thrive. We, therefore, see our role as that of an enabler, the provider of a favourable and enabling atmosphere for businesses to expand and grow so that the hopes and aspirations of those over 18 million Nigerians will be met.”
Commenting on the advantages of regular power supply, Governor Fashola said that his administration believes that regular power supply would enable it to unleash the possibilities of the economy’ beyond the imaginations of even our most ardent critics’.
“Think of the small businesses that generate their own power and just imagine how much they will prosper if their down time becomes their up time or productive time because we have been able to provide stable power. Imagine a Lagos that is much safer than today because every inch of it is lit up at night from regular power supply,” the Governor said.
He said life would be much better for the over 18 million Lagosians if the State could industrially produce milk, bread and eggs daily, produce and package vegetables and transport them within and beyond the State and its environs instead of importing them pointing out that such a well fed and well nourished population would certainly have a new sense of self worth and commitment to State and Nation while the productivity of the workforce would improve substantially
Recalling the lifestyle changes that were reported when the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) was flagged off Governor Fashola said life would be even much better in the transport sector when the Lagos Light Rail – the Blue Line, with its larger carrying capacity, would start operation in the State adding that with 60 ferries soon to be added to the existing six with a capacity for 200 passengers to ply no less than 10 ferry routes across the State, the Transportation System would be greatly enhanced for the benefit of the population.
On the Housing Sector, Governor Fashola said when the Lagos HOMS finally kicks off and is able to guarantee at the start of each month that 100 tax-paying citizens own their own homes as long as they are able to make the 30 percent deposit of the value of the house they choose and make their monthly payments, their self esteem and dignity would undoubtedly improve while their commitment to duty would be enhanced.
“Imagine, a Lagos, therefore, where power is efficient , agriculture prospers and food is available at reasonable prices and no part of Lagos is difficult to access because we now have an intra-city rail, a reliable ferry transport system and a growing BRT network,” the Governor said.
Governor Fashola said this year’s Summit is intended to mobilize and sustain the continuous inflow of investment to Lagos to help the State achieve ‘Our PATH to economic greatness’, adding that more operators are needed to run the close to 30 ferry routes, in the waste to wealth initiative, medium and long-term power supply, water supply and infrastructure as well as food supply and agro-allied services adding that his administration is doing everything in its power to make the business climate better in order to sharpen its competitive edge.
Such efforts to create enabling environment, the Governor said include major reforms in Government Ministries and Department and Agencies that will lead to the adoption and announcement of a service charter to be made public soon as well as arrangements for the payment solution that would enable all members of the public to access the State’s Geographic Information System among others.
While reviewing past Summits earlier, the Chairman of the Lagos Economic Summit Group and Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Ben Akabueze, said the Lagos Economic Summit, is not a talk shop but a very serious business interaction adding that out of 118 resolutions taken in the past Summits , a total of 109 has so far been implemented.
According to the Commissioner, more than 50 percent of the recommendations from the 5th Ehingbeti have also been implemented while others are either on-going or being reviewed in accordance with the prevailing circumstances.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Co-Chairman of the Summit, Mr. Olabode Augusto, said the theme of this year’s Economic Summit was in realization of the importance of Lagos State to the Nigerian Economy adding, ‘We believe that if Nigeria is going to become a major emerging market, then Lagos State must be central to that strategy’.
Also present at the ceremony were the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga who represented the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa among other members of the State Executive Council and Legislature, Senator Olorunimbe Mamora, Hon. Abike Dabiri Erewa, among many other local and international dignitaries.