LCCI, OPS task Lagos guber candidates on economic plans
• Ambode, Agbaje unveil agenda, differ on state’s investment competitiveness
GOVERNORSHIP candidates for the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode and Jimi Agbaje at the weekend unveiled their agenda for the organized private sector if elected into office.
The candidates, while unfolding their plans at a debate organized by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) at the weekend, expressed commitments towards creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
Justifying the need for the debate, the President of LCCI, Alhaji Remi Bello explained that Lagos State remains a strategic state to the Nigerian economy, being the commercial centre and cannot ignore the consequence of not enjoying quality governance from political office holders.
“Lagos has evolved to become a mega city with an estimated GDP of $91 billion. The private sector in Lagos State has become a major stakeholder having become the engine growth in the state considering its contributions to the state’s revenue, job creation and the general advancement of the economy of the state.
“The engagement process would guide our electoral decision because the quality of political governance has profound implications for the quality of investment environment. Without a conducive environment for business, there cannot be meaningful economic progress and the capacity to create jobs would be correspondingly inhibited”, he added.
Unveiling his plans, Agbaje stated that events in the global economy, especially in the oil industry may necessitate moves to be innovative in generating revenue for government while making the business environment yet friendly for the private sector.
According to him, Lagos State may lose its competitiveness if the ease of doing business is not addressed.
“A diversified economy is the answer without necessarily making the state’s business environment uncompetitive. We need to explore the ocean economy as well as the value-chain benefits of the processing sector. Expansion of infrastructure should not be concentrated in a particular area like the Eko Atlantic City project, rather, other areas should be considered in a bid to decongest some areas.
“As enviable as Public-Private Partnership may be, we need to ensure transparency of such agreements. We hope to address these issues if elected into office. We will also create a new economy, expand tax nets and address social needs as well as infrastructure for the benefit of all Lagosians”, he added.
On his part, Ambode promised to set up a Lagos Employment Trust Fund (LETF) with N25 billion over the next four years, adding that this will enhance access to finance of youths and unemployed people for entrepreneurial ventures.
“We will protect the growth of our small and medium scale enterprises by providing tax incentives. We will implement government policies that will encourage the private sector to employ more citizens and foster economic development”, he added.
To boost internally generated revenue (IGR) in the state, Ambode said the government would improve the collection mechanism through e-governance.
He also unveiled plans to pursue a fully integrated transport management system that combines roads, rail, water and walkways to ease the movement of residents in the city centres and the suburbs.
“We will introduce and establish officially designated bus stops/routes in Lagos. We will improve on traffic with the construction of new roads and maintenance of existing ones, as well as placing directional signs in strategic places. We will also increase the use of our waterways through channeling and dredging,” he said.
With the rising demand for housing in the state, Ambode promised to create communities that are self-sustainable across the state. He also said his administration will improve on the current policy of home ownership through Lagos HOMS and provide ownership options, such as Rent to Own Programme (ROP).
“This will allow for easy access and reduce congestion at the city centres. We will provide affordable housing schemes by collaborating, through Public Private Partnerships (PPP), to increase the available housing stock,” he said.