By Ebenezer Ishola
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Thursday disclosed that given the rising population and limited geographical space of the State, Lagos will require about $15 billion over the next five years for infrastructure.
Speaking at the third Lagos Investors’ Roundtable and launching of Deal Book organised by the Office of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Investment, Governor Sanwo-Olu called on investors to optimise the advantages of the opportunities in Lagos State toward the goal of developing a 21st Century economy as projected by his administration.
At the investment roundtable, which was attended by foreign diplomats, members of business communities, captains of industries and members of the State Executive Council, among others, Governor Sanwo-Olu also called for partnership with investors and private sector, saying the implementation of the development strategies of his administration demands partnership and contributions of private investors.
He said: “We strongly believe that the continued growth and success of Lagos is premised on the strength and diversity of our partnerships. It is such strategic partnerships that account for Lagos being by far the leading recipient of local and foreign direct investments in Nigeria. It is estimated that, in the last few years, about 80 percent of the investments into Nigeria, has come into Lagos.
“These investments remain vital to our economic growth and wellbeing, supporting tens of thousands of jobs and livelihoods across the city. This is the reason why a forum like this is so important – as a platform for harmonising our respective visions and targets and agreeing on key actions that will not only strengthen existing investment partnerships but also initiate new ones.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu stressed further that “As a government, we understand the value of these relationships in fostering economic resilience, particularly during times of uncertainty, like this one we are in, marked by the combined effects of a global pandemic, climate change, global inflation, the burden of poverty and social and economic inequality, among others.
“As a low-lying aquatic city with over 22 million citizens, confined to the smallest landmass in Nigeria, Lagos is especially vulnerable to all the challenges of a sprawling, densely populated, climate challenged, fast-growing Megacity.
“We believe that given the rising population and limited geography space that we have, Lagos will indeed require about $15 billion over the next five years on infrastructure alone. $15 billion is about five times the budget that we currently have. Lagos budget is about $3 billion today.”
While assuring investors that Lagos State is open and ready for investments, innovation and collaboration, Governor Sanwo-Olu assured investors and private partners that the State Government will create enabling policies and environment for them to thrive in Lagos and for their investments to be safe and secure, as well as ensuring that innovation thrives.
“Indeed we have a huge responsibility to develop critical hard and soft infrastructure that can act as a catalyst for what you do as investors. All of these we have been doing and will continue to do,” the governor said.
Governor Sanwo-Olu during the event also launched the ‘Lagos Deal Book’, which is a compendium of investment opportunities across the state as well as information about the incentives for making the investments and the processes for doing so.
He said: “I encourage you all to take advantage of the rich information contained in this Deal Book, to guide and inform your decision making. Information, they say, is power, and there is something of value and interest to each and every one of you, inside the compendium.
“I also urge you all to continue to support, partner and collaborate with Lagos State and with one another, to create sustainable economic prosperity that will touch the lives of all Lagosians. I would like to ask you all, to please spread the word; Lagos State is open and ready for investment, innovation, and collaboration.”
Speaking earlier, the Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo-Olu on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and Investment, Mrs. Solape Hammond, said the roundtable was part of shared aspiration towards making Lagos the most preferred investment destination in the world.
She reassured the investors about the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration’s determination to institute business-friendly measures to boost investors’ confidence and guarantee trust, adding that her office is working with relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government to minimise all perceived threats and scale-up strategic benefits.
“It is an incontrovertible fact that Lagos derived its age-long excellence partly from the worthy contribution of private investment to its socio-economic development, hence, the commitment towards creating a conducive atmosphere for private businesses to strive.
“As carefully exemplified by Mr. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in his developmental agenda, T.H.E.M.E.S, the utmost goal is to make Lagos the most desirable investment destination in the world. The ability to attract investment remains the hallmark of healthy economies all over the world,” she said.
Also speaking, Commissioners for Transport (Dr. Frederick Oladeinde), Energy (Mr. Lere Odusote), Agriculture (Ms Bisola Olusanya), Tourism, Arts and Culture (Pharm. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf), Health (Prof. Akin Abayomi), Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure (Engr. Aramide Adeyoye) and Director-General, Office of Public Private Partnership (Mr. Ope George), who spoke passionately on huge investment opportunities in different sectors in the State and urged investors to tap into them.