Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has unveiled the Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment, also known as ‘Lagos Global’, in line with his administration’s efforts to boost ease of doing business in the state, as well as to actualise the state’s vision of becoming Africa’s model megacity and financial hub.
At the official presentation in Lagos recently, Ambode, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello, said the initiative was also part of the commitment of his administration to make Lagos an investment destination of choice by creating a favourable environment for local and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
According to the governor, Lagos State has remained the desired investment destination, having attracted massive FDI such as the $1.65 billion Lekki Deep Seaport and the $12 billion Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Plant among other investments coming to the State.
He promised that the seaport would be completed in 2019 to become the deepest seaport in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The governor also emphatically stated that the Badagry Creek Industrial Park, a $1.3billion investment, would be completed in 2018.
He said: “As the world continues to acknowledge Lagos as a regional financial hub, we as government have demonstrated the commitment to strengthen this position through deliberate policies aimed at improving the business climate in our state.
“In this regard, we have successfully placed Lagos on investors’ radar by putting in place effective legal and regulatory frameworks such as the Land Reform Act, Double Taxation treaties, Limited Liability Reviews and the development of Free Trade Zones. Likewise, the on-going judicial reform is aimed at strengthening our laws for the protection of enterprise.”
Ambode said his administration was committed to infrastructure development and maintenance was evidence in an efficient Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which transports over 200, 000 passengers daily; functional Integrated Power Projects; enhanced security and access roads to sea and airports, among others. He said all of these projects , underscored his administration’s determination to make Lagos a functional megacity.
In his welcome address, Special Adviser to the Governor on Overseas Affairs and Investment, Prof. Ademola Abass, said Lagos Global was created by the current administration to act as one-stop shop with the mandate of promoting foreign investment into the state and managing export out of the state.
He also said the office has the mandate of managing foreign investment transaction and ensure that would-be investors enjoy seamless and hurdle-free experience by providing first class service delivery to them right from the point of initial enquiry down to the setting up and running of businesses in the state.
This, he said, would eliminate difficulties and bureaucracies often associated with multi-agencies handling of investments. “Never again will an investor give up the hope of setting up business in Lagos State on the obstacles of suffocating an interminable bureaucracy. The job of Lagos Global is principally to enhance the ease of doing business and create an enabling environment for investors,” Abass said.
Renowned economist and Founder, Centre for Values in Leadership, Prof. Pat Utomi said the creation of Lagos Global was a major step towards transforming the state to a modern city-state just like the advanced ones in the world.
“Lagos can play the kind of stimulating role Singapore played in South east Asia,” Utomi said.