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Human development, energy, infrastructure imperative for sustainable growth — UNIFEMGA

Representative of Imam of Lagos, Alhaji Bakare Abdulateef (left), Chairman, BoT, UNIFEMGA, Alhaji Rafiu Ebiti, Guest Speaker and Lagos State Deputy Governor-Elect, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Kolawole Ayanwole and a panelist, Mr. Ayodeji Balogun at the event<br />

The Chairman, Lagos Chapter of Obafemi Awolowo University Muslim Graduates Association (UNIFEMGA, Mr. Goke Adeyemi, has said Nigeria’s stunted growth could be attributed to dearth of infrastructural development, inadequate energy development strategies, and inefficient government policies, among others.

Speaking at the 19th annual public lecture organised by the association in Lagos, Adeyemi said: “The topic for today’s event has been chosen to address the huge deficits in the areas of human development, energy and enabling infrastructure in Nigeria. There is no gain saying the fact that investing in sustainable and enabling infrastructure is key to tackling the three central challenges facing the Nigerian communities on reigniting growth, delivering on the sustainable development goals, and reducing climate risk in line with the Paris agreement.

The challenge is urgent and we must collectively tackle it. The current global economy indicates that human development is fast becoming a central issue in the area of sustainable development due to its indispensable nature in the enhancement of sustaining the developmental goals.”

Also speaking, Lagos State Deputy Governor-elect, Dr. Kadiri Hamzat said, “over the past four years, the country has witnessed record investments in critical infrastructure.

The economy has moved from one dependent on oil revenues that perpetually fuels an inexhaustible demand for imported goods and services, to one that maximises non-oil revenues to develop domestic productive capacity and create local jobs for our people.

He encouraged citizens to join government in making “a collective decision to be the change that we want, saying: “We cannot move to the next level without taking that first step of unity. We cannot seek a greater Lagos when we choose to be less than great in our own personal lives. Our administration will make that commitment to a better life and we ask all well-meaning Nigerians to join us on this exciting journey.”

The Board of Trustees (BoT) Chairman, UNIFEMGA, Alhaji Abdul-Rafiu Ebiti, said adoption of efficient technologies in energy generation and deployment of more renewable sources of clean energy will inadvertently help in promoting development in the power sector. Noting that, it will help “reduce hidden energy bills we have to pay among other benefits.”

On his take home from the lecture, he said, “all the speakers have done excellently well in helping us understand where we were, what next to expect and where we are going and how to improve on statuesque and push for sustainability. All said and done, we have been able to understand the concept of human development not only through the human capital gains but much more through the approach of human development index concept. And we have seen how the statement of the agenda 2030, driven by a clean energy concept and enabling infrastructure could fast track sustainable economic growth, and an inclusive national development.”

At the panel session moderated by Mr. Niyi Yusuf, Country Manager, AFEX Nigeria Ltd, Mr. Ayodeji Balogun identified some of policies chasing away investors and advised that government should relax its tax reform process.

According to him, “the tax system in Nigeria; and especially Lagos State is too cumbersome. There are too many unions collecting tax. This is a catastrophe. It gets tiring for private sectors to come into the system and remain in operation with this kind of system.

All speakers agreed human development, energy and enabling infrastructure were key for sustainable growth and nation development.

Development, they said, “is a process that creates growth, progress, positive change or the addition of physical, economic, environmental, social and demographic components.

“ The purpose of development is a rise in the level and quality of life of the population, and the creation or expansion of local regional income and employment opportunities, without damaging the resources of the environment. Development is visible and useful, not necessarily immediately, and includes an aspect of quality change and the creation of conditions for a continuation of that change. For an economy that would drive nation’s development and sustain it, certain things must the put into place and it remains the key factor,” they said.

Dignitaries at the event included association’s chairman, Board of Trustees, Alhaji Rafiu Ebiti; National President, Alhaji Abdul Wahab Odeyimka; Chief Executive Officer, Centerspread Advertising Limited, Mr. Kolawole Ayanwale, Mr. Niyi Yusuf, representative of Chief Imam of Lagos, Alhaji Bakare Abdulateef and the invited panelists, Country Manager, Afex Nigeria Limited, Mr. Ayodeji Balogun, Managing Diretor, Matrix Energy, Alhaji Abdulkadir Aliu and others.

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