EHINGBETI 2012: Lagos is bubbling with opportunities, Fashola tells investors
The Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola on Monday said that the state presents tremendous opportunities and possibilities for investment to those who wish to make good returns on their investments.
Mr Fashola, who was addressing both local and foreign investors at the Eko Hotel and Suites venue of the 6th Lagos Economic Summit (EHINGBETI 2012), said that the opportunities and possibilities in Lagos are endless. He said that 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, the governor said “the opportunities are endless. We have seen them and we invite you to come along with us.”
He said that investments in these 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’, he said.
“Your PATH to prosperity should compel you to follow your imagination and invest in these areas,” the governor told his audience.
Mr Fashola said his administration is focusing on Power, Agriculture, Transportation and Housing because investing in these 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,’ he said.
Explaining further the choice of the Summit’s theme, ‘From BRICS to BRINCS: Lagos Holds The Key’ and the reason for focussing on PATH, the governor 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 per cent to the nation’s GDP and is the leading contributor to the non-oil sector GDP.
“Lagos accounts for over 60 per cent of Nigeria’s industrial and commercial activities, 70 per cent of national maritime cargo freight, over 80 per cent of international aviation traffic, over 50 per cent of Nigeria’s energy consumption’, he said.
“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.”
Lagos needs more infrastructures
The governor said 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,” he 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.
The governor told his audience the changes that were reported when the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) was flagged off in the early days of his administration.
He 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 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 Lagos, the transportation system would be greatly enhanced for the benefit of the population.
“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,” he said.
Reviewing past Summits, the Chairman of the Lagos Economic Summit Group and Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, 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 have so far been implemented.
According to Mr Akabueze, more than 50 per cent 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.
President Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented by the Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, the Lagos state Deputy Governor, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Commissioner for Transportation, Kayode Opeifa were among government officials at the Summit.