Lagos Seeks Improved Private Sector Support to Fund Projects

Nume Ekeghe and Oluchi Chibuzor

The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has called on the banking sector and other major players in the financial sector to fund and key into its various infrastructure and developmental projects across the state.

Sanwo-Olu also revealed that the fourth mainland bridge which has been in the planning and discussion phase previously was getting closer to execution, saying three investors were already showing interest in financing the project.

Speaking yesterday at a private-public partnership pre-Ehingbeti stakeholders’ engagement on building a sustainable future for a greater Lagos, Sanwo-Olu, said the government would continue to pursue policies that are inclusive and equitable to all over the development plan period.

 Represented by his Deputy, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, he maintained that his administration remained committed to taking appropriate lessons from this Summit through the implementation of its resolutions, and “this edition will not be an exception.”

He said: “It is important to mention that past summits gave birth to initiatives such as the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund which have continued to support young people with innovative ideas, to start and grow their businesses; the Lagos State Security Trust Fund through which security agencies are being assisted to be more effective in securing lives and property; design and construction/reconstruction of key road infrastructure with special consideration for the provision of pedestrian walkways. The list is not exhaustive as no sector of the state’s economy has not been positively impacted.

“The state government in recognition of the pivotal role played by the banking and finance industry in the development of the economy has decided to share its vision and plans with us, to harness insights and commitment of the banking industry towards the actualisation of the development agenda.

“I, therefore, call on all members of the banking community to support the initiatives of the state government by channeling resources to critical sectors towards the development of Lagos State into a major economy in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Furthermore, Sanwo-Olu noted that subsequent summits were private sector-driven and had to a very large extent, achieved their purpose through the meticulous and faithful adoption and implementation of innovative ideas and suggestions.

He acknowledged that governance was not a one-man show, stressing that no government, irrespective of the quality of its officials could claim the monopoly of knowledge or ideas thus the continuous engagements with the private sector.

“Hence the summit is a clear admission of this fact and therefore presents the opportunity for everyone to get involved. Ehingbeti is now firmly established as a credible forum for the stimulation of economic ideas and the emergence of the most vibrant, diverse, competitive and inclusive Lagos,” he added.

On the development plan, Sanwo-Olu stressed that the, “forum is organised to sensitise key stakeholders on this year’s Summit and more importantly seek your input on the proposed 30 years Lagos Development Plan which will be formally presented at the Summit for deliberation and final adoption for implementation.”

In his opening remarks, the President and Chairman of Council, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Ken Opara said the engagement would institutionalise the developmental landscape of the state through the private-public state partnership.

According to him the forum, a precursor to the Ehingbeti Summit, provides an opportunity for the state government and private sector players to exchange ideas on the most efficient and effective way of accelerating growth and development in the state.

He noted that the collaboration between the bankers’ institute and the Lagos State government epitomises a partnership that works, adding that the institute has enjoyed a very cordial relationship with the Lagos State Government under the leadership of Sanwo-Olu.

However, responding to stakeholders’ question on ease of doing business, housing and infrastructural development within the state, the deputy governor noted that as a state, Lagos would continue to respond to issues that would move the state forward.

“We want people to use government’s channels in transacting their businesses. We have an ease-of-doing business platform that has helped us to solve various mirages of problems facing the state.

“On traffic, we recognised that it is very critical to the development of the state. The fourth mainland bridge is now becoming a reality as investors are now showing interest. We now have about three of them,” Hamzat explained.

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