Lagos Global on TV, a new television programme designed to promote Lagos investment opportunities in development and emerging economies, will soon hit the television screen. It will run for 26 weeks. The programme, which is expected to make its debut on Lagos Television (LTV)) and Television Continental (TVC), is also to inform the people on the state’s drive for investment. At the recording, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode speaks on the content of the programme, how to improve on the ease of doing business and the relevance of Lagos Global to driving investments to the state.
What is the administration’s vision in the state’s drive for foreign investment?
First, Lagos State has received more foreign direct investment in the last 16 months than in the last 10 years. And the vision of the administration is to make Lagos safer, cleaner and more prosperous for doing business. We are putting in place a 24/7 one-stop investment structure. We are running on a tripod of security, job creation and infrastructural renewal.
If Lagos is safe, more businessmen will do business and more investments will come to Lagos, thereby creating more jobs and growing our Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
What is the relevance of Lagos Global to all of these?
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 need 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.
But we decided to come up with the Office of Oversees Affairs and Investment, otherwise known as Lagos Global. It is designed to serve as one-stop shop to facilitate local and international investments.
How is the administration handling issues of credibility, transparency and use of technology to provide access to government?
The state is willing to partner any investor that would add value to the people. Primarily, our business is to create enabling environment for business to thrive. We can sometimes waive some charges like land charges, depending on how impactful the investment is to the people of the state. This administration has deployed technology to bring about seamless service delivery while scaling up the identity card scheme for data, economic and financial planning.
But, we need infrastructure to make it happen. We are limited by resources and we cannot increase taxes, but with more funds from taxes, we can do better. The N25billion Empowerment Trust Fund is not for big investors but SMEs and the youth. Our ID card project will be for planning and accessing government services. The contract has been awarded. However, we need to know the real census figure of the state as well as those going in and out of the state.
There is no government money anywhere. What we get as tax is what we use to create services. The more efficiently we collect the taxes, and the more willingness of the people to pay, the better for us. I urge investors to see Lagos is on the rise and the future of Nigeria rests in her commercial capital, which is Lagos.
What are the reforms in transport and judicial sectors?
Reforms in the transport sector have reduced travel time, thereby making Lagosians more productive. Again, our civil service has been very responsible. Our judicial sector reform has been effective with the rule of law respected. Investors are coming in droves and what we have put in the last 16 months is more than what has been done in the last 10 years.
What is your energy security?
We need energy security to protect the investment. We are in talk with the DISCOs to come up with a new roadmap. But I don’t want to pre-empt the advisory committee report on that. Energy security of our economy is the way to go.
Source: <The Nation>