Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday reeled out the numerous investment opportunities that abound in the state to would-be investors in critical sectors such as Power, Agriculture, Transportation, Health, Tourism, Housing, ICT and Manufacturing, just as he assured that the state is open more than ever before for greater business.
Governor Ambode, who spoke in Lagos at the formal unveiling of the Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment, otherwise known as Lagos Global, said in anticipation of the increased socio-economic activities, his administration has resolved to prioritize the achievement of the four pillars of the Lagos State Development Plan (2012-2015) which included economic development, infrastructural development, social development and security, and sustainable environment.
The Lagos Global, which is an initiative of the Ambode administration, is a one-stop shop designed to encourage ease of doing business and help to turn Lagos into Africa’s model megacity and global economic and financial hub that is safe, secure, functional and productive.
Governor Ambode, who was represented at the unveiling by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello, said that the efforts put in place so far have ensured that the state remained the desired business having attracting massive Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) such as the $1.65 billion Lekki Deep Seaport.
He assured that the seaport would be completed in 2019 and upon completion will be the deepest seaport in Sub-Saharan Africa, adding that the Badagry Creek Industrial Park, a $1.3billion investment meant for completion in 2018 and the $12 billion Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Park were among other investments coming to the State.
The Governor recalled his inaugural speech on May 29, 2015, where he stated the commitment of his administration to make Lagos an investment destination of choice by creating a favourable environment for local and Foreign Direct Investment.
He said: “As the world continues to acknowledge Lagos as a regional financial hub, we as government have demonstrated the commitment to strengthen this position through deliberate policies aimed at improving the business climate in our state.
“In this regard, we have successfully placed Lagos on investors’ radar by putting in place effective legal and regulatory frameworks such as the Land Reform Act, Double Taxation treaties, Limited Liability Reviews and the development of Free Trade Zones. Likewise, the on-going judicial reform is aimed at strengthening our laws for the protection of enterprise.
“Similarly, the conscious efforts of our administration at public infrastructure development and maintenance as indicated by an efficient Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), transporting over 200,000 passengers daily, functional Integrated Power Projects, enhanced security and access roads to sea and airports among others, have underscored our determination to make Lagos a functional megacity,” Governor Ambode said.
Earlier in his welcome address, Special Adviser to the Governor on Overseas Affairs and Investment, Professor Ademola Abass said the office was created by the current administration to act as one-stop shop with the mandate of promoting foreign investment into the state and managing export our of the state.
He said the office also has the mandate to manage foreign investment transaction and ensure that would-be investors enjoy seamless and hurdle-free experience by providing first class service delivery to them right from the point of initial enquiry down to the setting up and running of businesses in the state thus eliminating difficulties and bureaucracies often associated with multi-agencies handling of investments.
In his keynote address, renowned economist and social crusader, Professor Pat Utomi said the creation of Lagos Global is a major step towards transforming the state to modern city-state just like the advanced ones in the world.
He said Lagos economy must therefore be a 24/7 economy, and that the growth of the state requires significant cooperation from neighbouring states.
Utomi said Lagos offers hope for rapid growth of the country in the sense that it has the capacity to serve as the yard-stick to measure and encourage development, but that there has to be a concerted effort to make the state a more attractive idea of a developmental state, and that there must be a well done plan to round up everything that Lagos represents in terms of possibilities through a branding process.
Meanwhile, Governor, Ambode has ordered the State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC) to immediately embark on extensive repair on the ever busy Lagos-Badagry Expressway so as to improve driving experience of motorists in the area.
General Manager and Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Works, Engr. Ayotunde Sodeinde, told journalists on Thursday that the Corporation has already mobilised its workers to commence work immediately on several sections of the road.
“Immediately His Excellency, Governor Ambode gave us the directive, we have moved into the area to commence extensive work on the roads. We have been here since Tuesday and work has commenced in earnest,” he said.
He said the repair works would include covering all potholes on the road while the drainage systems will also be given a face-lift.
Sodeinde listed the roads earmarked for repairs to include Iyana Ishasi – Ribamu Bus Stop (both sides), Ketu Bus Stop – Cele Nica, FGC Ijanikan – Iyana Era, ACOED Pedestrian Bridge – Alafia Bus Stop, Former Toll Gate – Ibiye/Morogbo and Pure Water Bus Stop – Magbon (both sides).
Other roads expected to get a facelift include, Ile-Epo Bus Stop – Oko Afo Outward Badagry, Mowo Bus Stop – Elijah Araromi Bridge (both sides), Limca Bus Stop – Mosafejo (both sides), French Village – Low Cost Housing Scheme and Ibereko (both sides).
According to Sodeinde, the repair works on the Lagos Badagry Expressway was in line with the mandate of the present administration to ensure zero tolerance against potholes.
He expressed optimism that when rehabilitation works are completed, it will to a large extent reduce the traffic congestion, assuring that the Public Works gangs will work day and night to on the roads.
“The Governor has said it times without number that he wants all the roads in Lagos to be motorable and free of potholes. He wants the hard life that Lagosians are going through to be alleviated. He cannot stand Lagosians going through hardship due to bad roads.
“You know when the roads are good, it means economic growth, people will be able to move from one part of the state to another, transport their goods without stress, you will notice that even the activities of hoodlums and pickpockets thrive when there is gridlock, as far as gridlock that is being caused by potholes are concerned, we are on our feet to ensure that we put the road in order to reduce the traffic,” Sodeinde said.