Ambode: Lagos Key to Economic Reconstruction of Nigeria

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  •  Says economic diversification should promote MSMEs

Gboyega Akinsanmi

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has noted that the state was critical to the economic reconstruction of Nigeria, a role he said it had started to play as Africa’s fifth largest economy.

Ambode added that Nigeria should channel her diversification efforts to basically promote Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs), which he described as the engine of economic growth.
He made the remark at the 2016 Lagos International Trade Fair held at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Onikan recently, where he said the MSMEs “is a gold mine waiting to be fully explored in the country.”

Ambode, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Oluranti Adebule, addressed the fair alongside President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Chief Nike Akande, and the Commissioner for Commerce, Industry & Cooperatives, Mr. Rotimi Ogunleye.
He said the state government “will not stop being a pathfinder in the drive for Nigeria’s economic reconstruction. With a population of 22 million, Lagos State has, over the years, amassed great public trust and investors’ confidence as indicated in several world economic reports.”

He described the economic reports as an acknowledgment of the impact of the effort, which he said, had been made in the past to create enabling business environment and standard of living.
He noted that the state government “have channelled our efforts towards the development of such sectors as agriculture, manufacturing, wholesale & retail trade, building & construction and service,” which he said, were largely dominated by the teeming creative MSMEs.

He disclosed that his administration “has been promoting the expansion of the MSMEs. The MSMEs are indeed a catalyst of any meaningful sustainable economic development. In this regard, we have been providing market access for MSMEs, especially through sponsorship to trade fairs.
“To achieve meaningful and sustainable growth, our diversification effort must be centred largely around the MSMEs. I see this sector as a gold mine that is yet to be fully harnessed. In Lagos, We are making effort to encourage business by creating the enabling environment.

“This administration will remain committed to the growth and sustenance of this all-important sector that can catalyse non-oil economic growth in Lagos State and Nigeria at large,” he said.
Aside that, the governor explained that much effort had also been made “to secure the state and further create conducive environment. We have stepped up the security apparatus in our state to deal decisively with those criminal tendencies.

“The protection of all physical, social and economic assets, whether public or private has remained a focal point for the state government. With respect to landed properties, we have also stemmed the menace of land grabbers through the enactment of Properties Protection Law.
“I recently signed a law which has criminalised the activities of land grabbers with prison terms ranging from two to ten years upon conviction. Efforts are being intensified to deal with the issue of traffic and forestall losses arising from traffic challenge.”

Also at the trade fair, Akande, the President of LCCI, emphasised the need for Lagos State to improve on the environment of doing business, though acknowledged that the state had tried in the past.

She said: “We would always advocate for a conducive business environment where private businesses can thrive. The private sector has a bigger capacity to create jobs and lift people out of poverty.

“We look forward to a Lagos State that would be the pride of Africa. Let me use this opportunity to congratulate Governor on proactive and visionary leadership offered by him to the people of Lagos State.”

Ogunleye provided background to the 2016 trade fair, noting that the annual international trade fair had continued to provide a platform for small businesses to showcase their potential over time up till now.

According to him, this is one of the ways in which the state government is promoting and providing network platform for our MSMEs to stimulate demand for their products and services and ultimately facilitate the enhancement of their productivity.