By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has disclosed that the reforms initiated by his administration in critical sectors are already yielding positive results, adding that the state has so far received more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the last 16 months than what was achieved in the last 10 years.
Speaking on Thursday at the maiden edition of Lagos Global on TV, a programme designed to inform Nigerians on the giant strides of the state government at driving investment and facilitating ease of doing business in Lagos, the Governor said his administration had remained committed to creating an enabling environment for investment to thrive, saying that the resolve informed the various reforms introduced.
Mr Ambode, who reiterated the vision of his administration to make Lagos safer, cleaner and more prosperous for the people, said over the past 16 months, the administration has operated on a tripod which is security, job creation and infrastructure renewal.
According to him, “When I won the election, one of my priorities was to see how to improve on the ease of doing business in Lagos and I also believe that we needed to carry out some kind of public sector reforms to drive the vision which we had actually set for ourselves and we needed to also have a kind of structure and institutional framework that would drive the vision.
“The vision is very simple: we want a safer, cleaner and a more prosperous Lagos and one of the structures would be if we want to tackle the issue of bureaucracy in the civil service, we needed to have a 24/7 one-stop shop office where we can drive investment especially where our businessmen can actually walk into and get everything that they need. In going about that, we decided to come up with the office of Oversees Affairs and Investment, otherwise known as Lagos Global.”
Giving further insight to the essence of the office, the Governor said Lagos Global was specifically designed to serve as one-stop shop to facilitate investment both from within and outside the country, adding that the state is willing and ready to partner with any investor once such investor is ready to add value to the State and the people.
Speaking on some of the reforms, he said his government invested massively to improve the security structure, thus facilitating more investment which according to him, has created more job opportunities for the people, while revenues generated has been judiciously utilised to embark on infrastructure renewal across the state.
Giving an instance, he said the reforms in the transport sector have brought about reduction in travel time, which has made Lagosians to be more productive and improve service delivery to the people.
“Take for example the issue of our judicial and security sector reform. We have been having the rule of law properly upheld in the state in the last 16 months and when you put all the reforms together, that is the main thrust of what you can now say confidently that we have created an enabling environment for investors and they are now coming into Lagos in droves. The FDI that we have put into Lagos in the last 16 months is greater than what we have been having in the last 10 years,” Mr Ambode said.
The Governor said that his administration has also deployed technology to bring about seamless service delivery and that the government is working on scaling up the identity card scheme for data, economic and financial planning, aside the N25 billion Employment Trust Fund (ETF) aimed at empowering entrepreneurs.
Earlier, Special Adviser to the Governor on Overseas Affairs and Investments, Professor Ademola Abass, said part of the mandate of his office is to bring in FDI into Lagos and also investment generated within the country.
He said Lagos which has emerged as the fifth largest economy in Africa has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that is bigger than those of Kenya and Ghana combined.
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