The Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Mr Ayo Gbeleyi has assured indigenes that the monies borrowed by the State were being channeled into developmental projects.
Mr Gbeleyi who was our guest on Channels Television’s business programme, Business Incorporated, said the developmental projects in the state is the justification of the state being the most indebted state in the country.
He was speaking on the sideline of the just concluded Lagos Economic Summit which focused on how to achieve steady electricity supply for the people of Lagos.
With the theme, ‘Powering The Lagos Economy: Real Opportunities, Endless Possibilities,’ participants believed that the political elites must show the example and be more committed if the power sector must be revamped.
The Director of UK Trade and Investment, Mike Purves has said that part of the reasons he was at the Lagos Economic Summit, Tagged Ehingbeti 2014 was to see how the UK could help in partnering and developing Lagos State in terms of investments.
He stated that his industry had a strong relationship with the Lagos State Government and which will help encourage investors from the UK to come and invest in the state.
He emphasized the importance of partnership between the UK Government and Lagos State Government.
Speaking on Channels Television Business Morning, Mr. Purves gave assurance of his support in the development of Lagos.
Focusing on power, agriculture, housing and transportation, Mr. Purves insisted that investment can only develop when there is a strong partnership between the two countries.
He noted that there had been a high increase of UK companies coming to Lagos to invest, assuring that when he gets back to his country, talks would begin between both countries on how to further expand the relationship.
The Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, has said that the essence of the Lagos Economic Summit, tagged Ehingbeti 2014 was for the private sector to draw the attention of the Government to places where its activities would enable the private sector achieve its potential in terms of delivering of service, provision of opportunities and growth of the economy.
Speaking on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Governor Fashola said that the summit which holds bi-annually was to check the progress of the resolutions carried out in the previous summit and how they had been implemented.
In an effort to further emphasize its mission to encourage more private sector involvement in the development of Lagos State, Governor Fashola spoke about different areas of the state’s economy, providing insight into his administration’s efforts at creating a conducive environment for investment.
Power generation came to the fore, being the focus of Ehingbeti 2014. He stated that the distribution and generation of power were now in the hands of the private sector, which makes it easier for people that have investments in the sector.
Governor Fashola disclosed that for about 4 years, Government had invested in a transformer manufacturing company in Badagry, and this was because they anticipated that when power generation ultimately became sufficient, there would be need to get power into homes, which called for buying of cable, transformers, and meters to measure the power.
He stated that a large number of these assets had been imported into the country but Nigerians could not wait to have power supply in their homes, unaware that “after these assets come into the country there might not be transformers”, but the good news was that “ transformers are now produced in the country.”
The Governor also revealed that the Akute Power Plant now enables the powering of Iju Water Works and increases the utilization capacity of the water works, “Power that should have gone to Iju is now available on the grid for the supplier to deal with and distribute to the ordinary consumer”.
Governor Fashola further mentioned the Alausa Power Plant which he said had freed off 10megawatts of power demand by government from public power.
He noted, “Power is available on the grid and should go ordinarily to private citizens” and according to him, the same goes to the State House, High Court, Magistrate Court, 14 schools, adding that his government had supported some other public amenities that were not state owned, like churches, police formations amongst others.
He also mentioned that in about 6 years, his government had been able to develop three independent power plants, with two more to be completed in Lekki and Ikeja, and for the sustainability of its efforts, he urged that Nigerians should conserve power, “People must shut down appliances that they are not using , it saves money in your pocket.” He also emphasized the need to save water, urging the media to help preach the message.
Speaking on the Resident Registration Exercise, Governor Fashola stated that the exercise was essential and useful for the power sector and telecommunications, to enable them know where their customers and consumers are, noting that it would also require auditing.
“This exercise will require auditing of information for future purposes”, he said.
On the recent controversies surrounding the payment of toll at the Lekki area of Lagos, Gov. Fashola said that the Lagos State Government had appealed the court judgement stopping it from collecting toll at the Lekki-Ikoyi bridge, and had asked for an order to stay execution of the judgement. He explained that when a party is applying that the enforcement of a judgement should be stayed, it is technically a suspension of the enforcement of that judgement until the court determines if the application would succeed.
The former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, has urged the private sector in Nigeria not to limit the sector but to open it for more investors to come in and invest.
He advocated the legalisation of power tariffs and urged the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to ensure that tariffs provided by private power companies were not speculated, pointing out, however, that margins should be left for private companies to be profitable.
Speaking on Wednesday at the ongoing 7th Lagos Economic Summit, Ehingbeti2014, President Saakashvilli said electricity could come from two supplies, gas power station and hydro power, insisting that monopoly should not be given on supply.
“Its very important not to give anybody monopoly on your supply,” he cautioned.
Giving his experience as the former president of Georgia, he condemned corruption and stressed the need for justice, explaining that the punishment of corrupt public office holders would go a long way in ending corruption in Nigeria.
He further stressed that he inherited a corrupt system that triggered the privatisation of the hydro power sector to prevent more corrupt practices in the system
Mr Saakashvilli advised Nigerians to desist from corruption, as it brings dishonesty and lack of trust in the leadership.
He further urged the public and private sectors to invest in power to enable Nigerians have consistent power supply.
The Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, on Tuesday said that the power plants constructed in the state are already making impact in different sectors of the economy.
Addressing the stakeholders at the Lagos Economic Summit, Governor Fashola said that the two power plants at Alausa and Lagos Island, constructed after the last summit, had improved power supply in hospitals, 14 schools, police commands and some courts.
“The power plants generated 259 jobs during the construction alone. It has impacted security in the state and over 42 streets have been lit-up across the state.
“About 198 generators have been decommissioned,” he said.
The governor emphasised the need for more of such power plants to help boost power supply in the state which requires over 10,000 megawatts of electricity to meet demand.
It is currently getting only 1,000 megawatts from the national grid.
Governor Fashola pointed out that a study conducted by the State government among 22 traders in Iyana Ipaja area of the state, before and after lighting up some streets, showed that their average monthly incomes grew by 42 per cent, from to 78,000 Naira to 110, 760 Naira, a development he said highlighted the impact power could have on the income of Nigerians if adequately provided.
He stressed that the traders attributed the growth to the fact that they could still trade for extra hours because of the street lights.
“They feel safer to do business with the light on the street,” he said
The Summit is coming days after the Nigerian economy was rebased, making Nigeria the largest economy in Africa with a GDP of 510 billion dollars.
But Governor Fashola stressed that the stories of GDP growth would not adjust the realities of the average Nigerian, insisting that concrete actions based on well thought out initiatives would rebase the realities of Nigerian.
He said that “the power sector is the critical enabler of the national economy”, a reality that informed the theme of the summit; ‘POWERING THE LAGOS ECONOMY: Real Opportunities, Endless Possibilities’.
At the summit, investors, consumers and policy makers in the power sector will be looking to proffer solutions to the power challenges in the state with a population of over 20 million and still grappling with 1,000 megawatts of electricity.
The summit, which started on Tuesday, will end on April 10.
The 7th Lagos Economic Summit, EHINGBETI 2014 which will hold between April 8 and 10, will focus on accelerating the sustained growth of the economy of Lagos especially through the creation of a vibrant and cost effective power sector.
On this segment of Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise, the Lagos State Commissioner for Transport, Kayode Opeifa, Commissioner for Housing, Bosun Jeje and Commissioner for Agriculture, Gbolahan Lawal, speak on the importance of the Summit to their respective sectors.
They also stressed the need for a better power sector which would help other sectors of the economy grow and alleviate poverty.
The Summit Group was inaugurated in April 2001 as a framework for private-public partnership.
The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola has stated that Nigerians must re-order their thinking from that of managers of foreign capital to that of builders of a new local capital that will become her armour against poverty and want.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the Lagos Economic Summit with the theme: “From BRICS to BRINCS: Lagos Holds the Key”, the governor warned that the country has no irrevocable pact with poverty or unemployment.
“It is my hope that this summit will re-awaken the entrepreneurial enthusiasm of our local people to participate more actively, to invest more faithfully, and to venture more bravely into the sectors of Power, Agriculture, Transportation and Housing which represent our pathway from BRIC to BRINCS”, he said.
Mr Fashola noted that, going by the theme of Ehingbeti 2012, which seeks to ensure that Nigeria joins the league of developing economies; Lagos State desires a status that will be fully representative of the high human developmental indices that Nigeria would have recorded.
He added that the quest for Nigeria to move from BRICS TO BRINCS should not be seen as one seeking a mere status akin to having a chieftaincy title or a honourary doctorate degree.
The governor added that it will do no good for Nigeria to be a BRINCS member and still be battling with polio or still be battling with water supply, stating that with that quest, the state government has signed on to is a collective quest for hard work which demands that Nigerians work their way to the prosperity they desire.
“We do not intend to go it alone, but we are convinced that because we have the benefit of what is essentially the Nigerian nation as represented by our small landscape, Lagos truly holds the key if Nigeria must move from BRICS to BRINCS”.
Governors Rauf Aregbesola of Osun and AbiolaAajimobi of Oyo states, called for closer economic, infrastructural and social integration with their sister state saying the move will ensure the survival of the entire south west region and country.
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.