Fashola hosts Stallion Group’s CEO, seeks partnership in agric, agro-allied production
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Monday sought partnership with the private sector in Agriculture saying aside addressing the food security of the State, his administration aims at opening up the value chain for participation and opportunities in the sector.
Governor Fashola, who spoke at the Lagos House, Ikeja, while playing host to the management team of the Stallion Group led by the Managing Director, Mr. Harpreet Singh, who paid him a courtesy visit, said investment in Agriculture was not only about growing food but must now include food processing, packaging, merchandizing and a possible commodities exchange.
The Governor, who said his administration has deployed both financial resources, time and personnel to Agriculture in the last few years, told his visitors, “Knowing that you are particularly involved in Agriculture, Agriculture is a major commitment that our Government has committed a lot of resources to increase the capacity of the State not only to address her food security challenges but also to open up the value chain for participation and opportunities in the Agric sector”
“It is not about growing food alone; it must now be about food processing, about food packaging, about merchandizing and we are looking also at the possibilities of commodities exchange within this area of Nigeria and possibly about merchantile exchange”, the Governor said.
Governor Fashola noted with joy that the Stallion Group was also into automobile manufacture and marketing pointing out that the company would be able to supply buses needed to run the 60 kilometre Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route included in the 10-lane expanded Lagos-Badagry Expressway now under construction.
Commending the company for currently having 10,000 Nigerians in its employ, Governor Fashola declared, “We think that the prospect of increasing that number can only get better as we deliver, particularly in the Badagry corridor, on the completion of the road expansion and the Light Rail project. The expansion itself has a BRT route built into it so it is going to run some 60 kilometres into Badagry town and we need buses to do all that”.
The Governor assured the company that his administration would continue to support the private sector by creating the enabling environment for business adding, “All you have been doing and all you have said have happened because we did our job as a government”.
“This is a partnership we must continue to renew and reinvent, a partnership where government has a clear understanding of what its role is. For us, our understanding is that we live for the private sector and that the Private Sector is from the biggest corporation to the most vulnerable, unemployed in-need members of our society. For us, that is the definition of the Private Sector; from the most vulnerable to the most prosperous”, he said.
According to him, “Our responsibility, therefore, is to continue to provide services so that every member of our society finds that there is a response to him or her at one level or the other”.
Governor Fashola urged the company to also reciprocate the gesture of his administration by supporting the State’s Security Trust Fund saying “it is a resource we put together so that we can empower security agents and agencies”. He added, We can have more that a healthy relationship if you do this and also ensure prompt remittance of taxes of your staff”.
Earlier, the managing Director of the company, Mr. Harpreet Singh, said the purpose of their visit was to acknowledge the very transformational and visionary leadership of Governor Fashola, pointing out that from all that could be seen across the State, it is clear that the vision of his administration was “to harness resources to offer good life to the people of Lagos”.
The Stallion Group, according to the Managing Director, shares the same vision of providing good life to the people of Lagos State adding that the company, through its investment in automobile industry and agriculture in Nigeria, has no less than 10,000 Nigerians in its employ.
Listing some of the diverse areas of the company’s investments, including agriculture, Mr. Singh and the many ways it has impacted on the Nigerian economy, the Managing Director declared, “We are not just importers, we are stakeholders”.
Also present at the occasion were the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. (Mrs.) Oluranti Adebule, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Sola Oworu and her Budget and Economic Planning, Works and Infrastructure, Finance and Transportation counterparts, Mr. Ben Akabueze, Dr. Femi Hamzat, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru and Mr. Kayode Opeifa respectively as well as the Special Adviser on Public Private Partnership, Mr. Ayo Gbeleyi on the Government side while the Stallion Group Managing Director was accompanied by top officers of the company including Mr. Sunil Dharmappa, Mr. Patrick Jigide and Mr. Kazeem James.