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LAGOS TRUE ROLE MODEL FOR GROWING BUSINESSES IN NIGERIA – FG

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The Federal Government on Thursday described Lagos State as a true model of the vision of improving on the ease of doing business and turning Nigeria into one of the easiest and most attractive places for investors in the world.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, who stated this in Lagos after a meeting with Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, said the State, as the commercial capital of the country, stands in a vantage position to drive the goal of government to improve World Bank ranking of Nigeria on the ease of doing business.

Speaking with Government House correspondents after the meeting, Enelemah said both the Federal Government and the State Government were willing to collaborate on strategic areas to achieve the overall goal of growing the economy.

He said: “We basically have been talking about creating enabling environment for investments and ease of doing business and the area where we have strong convergence between Lagos State and the Federal Government.

“Governor Ambode and I have been discussing how to collaborate very strongly to make Lagos State a true role model in line with our vision of making Nigeria one of the easiest and most attractive places to do business and you will agree with me that there is no better place to start than Lagos State, particularly when you have a Governor who is committed to it and as he puts it to us, it is like preaching to the converted.

“So, what we have done today is to agree on modalities on working together to achieve the targets that we have set for ourselves both in ease of doing business ranking of the World Bank, in terms of some of the areas where we know that we should improve upon like tourism for instance, by making sure that people who want to visit Nigeria come in seamlessly; in terms of making it easy for people in Lagos State who are, as the Governor puts it, paying the taxes by making life easier and better for them.”

Giving details, the Minister said his office would be collaborating with the Office of Transformation under the Governor’s office, as well as the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, to achieve the overall objectives.

He also assured that the Federal Government would not hesitate to impose import restrictions where necessary to avoid Nigeria from being a dumping ground, while concerted efforts would be put in place to check negative trade practices, especially for the benefit of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Also speaking, Governor Ambode recalled that in the last few months, the State Government had been engaging the business community on ease of doing business, saying that the meeting with officials of the Federal Government was in sync with the vision of his administration to achieve the very best in driving investment.

“What has been happening in the last two years is that on our part, we have tried as much as possible to provide an enabling environment for businesses to thrive in Lagos but again the indices that indicate that we are improving on ease of doing business is not really looking too good and we believe strongly that if 70 per cent of businesses or these indicators are actually coming from Lagos State, there is a need for us to quickly create a convergence between the efforts of the Federal Government and the State Government to make sure that we improve the business environment and that is what we have been discussing in the last few weeks as well as today.

“Moving forward, we have also engaged the office of the Vice President to see that there is a convergence in all our efforts to make sure that if possible, people should come to Lagos and start their business the same day.

“We want a situation whereby construction permit is given to people within the shortest possible time; we want to ensure that people who pay their taxes actually have the benefit of what they are paying for and in doing that, if we get in right in Lagos, it is very clear that Nigeria has gotten it right and that is why we are meeting,” Governor Ambode said.

The Governor expressed optimism that the current efforts would bring about major improvements on the business environment, adding that such would go a long way in growing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria.

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BE ACCOUNTABLE- LGs COMMITTEE CHARGED

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The elected Local Government Review Committee (LGRC) members from six selected Local Governments in Ogun State, have been advised on the need to be effective and be transparent in the discharge of their duties, for sustainable development in the State. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Community Development and Cooperatives, Mrs. Melutia Ogunremi, gave this advice during a one- day training for LGRC members, with the theme, “The Roles of LGRC in the Community Development Project (CDP) Formulation and Implementation’’, organised by the Community and Social Development Agency CSDA, at the Conference Hall, Ministry of Community Development and Cooperatives, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.

Mrs. Ogunremi, charged the elected committees saddled with the responsibilities of community development projects to effectively coordinate and execute World Bank assisted projects, adding that this would aid government’s intervention in executing more projects. According to her, “by the time the projects would be completed, the less privilege in our communities would feel the impact of good leadership”, adding that, accountability, sincerity, as well as transparency should be their watchword. On his part, the General Manager Community and Social Development Agency, Engineer Sakirudeen Salam, said the training was organised for elected committee members on their roles to facilitate and fast track the process of the proposed projects. He disclosed that, eighty participants which cut across the six selected Local governments including, Abeokuta North Local Government, Odeda Local Government, Ipokia Local Government amongst others, were duly represented.

Reacting, the Chairman, Board of Director, Community and Social Development Agency (CSDA), Pastor Oladipupo Odeyemi, disclosed that the programme had been in existence since 2009 and the State was already involved in the second phase, while striving to be among the third phase if all projects would be done with all honesty, describing the programme as a measure for poverty alleviation in any society. One of the participants at the training, Honourable Bode Kusimo commended the International agency, as well as the State government’s effort at eradicating poverty at the grassroots, pledging to ensure the success of the project, thereby assisting in the socio-economic growth of the areas.

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SANWO-OLU: “MAKING LAGOS A SMART CITY NOT A RHETORIC”

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The plan to elevate Lagos to become a smart city is not a mere political rhetoric, but an agenda that is being supported by policies that will make the goal achievable, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said.

The Governor said his administration’s commitment to reinvigorate the state’s economy and make it a smart city was reinforced by its growth potential and profile as one of the top investment destinations in Africa.

The smart city agenda, Sanwo-Olu said, is on course, stressing that his administration would achieve the goal in partnership with private sector as key driver of development.

The Governor spoke on Wednesday at the 13th Annual Business Law Conference organized by Business Law section of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), at the Eko Hotels and Suites on Victoria Island.

To achieve the aim, Sanwo-Olu said his government had identified key areas to drive growth, stating that investment in infrastructure remained prominent. 

He said: “As Africa’s most populous city, with a population larger than several countries on the continent, but confined to a space that is less than 4,000 square miles in size, Lagos is confronted by problems that exert great pressure on its infrastructure, especially our transport infrastructure and public utilities.

“Lagos urgently needs to mobilize huge investments into these critical sectors by delivering new roads and bridges, expanding air and sea ports’ capacity, exploiting the potential of our vast waterways. And, very importantly, Lagos needs to deliver an intra-city rail network. We must have a city-wide rail system that will move people and goods faster.” 

Steady electricity, Sanwo-Olu pointed out, remains critical to delivering a smart city with a flourishing economy. He observed that Lagos, like other states, still had a huge gap to fill in the area of power supply to businesses and homes.

The Governor said a sustained but strategic investment in key infrastructure would have direct positive impacts on workers’ productivity, commerce and economy.

He said: “Provision of infrastructure creates jobs for artisans, engineers and other workers who will deliver these projects, and also for the contractors who supply raw materials. And by expanding our transport and power supply capacities significantly, we will succeed in unleashing the economic productivity long-constrained by these bottlenecks.”

Sanwo-Olu said the effort required private sector partnership and investment to deliver on the objectives. He urged local and international investors to leverage the government’s Public Private Partnership (PPP) policy in facilitating collaboration, which, he promised, would be mutually beneficial.

While the Governor re-assured investors that his government would create “friendly atmosphere” for investment to thrive, he said the state had embarked on reforms in its business law to protect the interests of all parties when disputes arise in business.

He added: “By leading the way with these reforms, we are making the point that we understand the place of Lagos in the national economy, and we understand the connection between confidence in legal and regulatory systems on the one hand, and, on the other hand, a willingness by investors to invest.

“In terms of the business regulatory environment, we are fully aligned with the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business reform agenda. I am pleased to note here that Lagos was in 2018 adjudged by the World Bank as one of the most improved states in terms of the Ease of Doing Business.”

Sanwo-Olu praised members of the NBA’s Business Law section for choosing Lagos as its choice location to discuss the objectives of the business conference.

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PhotoNews:The Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila with Chief Dennis Otuaro

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The Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila with Chief Dennis Otuaro at the reception party organized for the Speaker by the Lagos State Government at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos on Sunday, June 23, 2019.

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