Lagos Reviews Policy for Industrial Devt, Pledges Inclusive Regime

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  • Seeks enhanced fiscal, monetary policies

Gboyega Akinsanmi

The Lagos State Government has initiated the process of reviewing its policy for industrial development, pledging that the new regime will guarantee inclusiveness for all players.
Also, the state government has canvassed for enhanced fiscal and monetary policies, which according to it, are key to driving the economy and creating a wholesome environment for the private sector.

The State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry & Cooperatives, Prince Rotimi Ogunleye, disclosed this at the 2016 Africa Industrialisation Day held at Adeyemi Bero Hall, Alausa, Ikeja recently.

The programme, tagged, ‘Financing Industrialisation in Africa: Challenges and Strategies’, brought hundreds of emerging industrialists, who exhibited their products.

With the commissioners at the event were the Special Adviser on Commerce, Mr. Benjamin Olabinjo and Permanent Secretary, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Cooperatives, Mr. Olalekan Akodu among others.

As part of its plan to revolutionise industrial sector, Ogunleye disclosed that the state’s industrial policy “is currently being revised to make it more inclusive and representative of the needs of the real sector.”

Aside, the commissioner noted that the State Properties. Protection Law, which was enacted early this year, was “to protect property owners and allow easy access to land for business and other purposes has been approved. Perfection of titles on properties transactions have been made easier and faster. Today the Lagos economy has been adjudged the fifth largest in Africa with a GDP of over $131 billion.”

He explained different challenges facing the organised private sector (OPS) to include policy inconsistencies, inadequate and poorly maintained roads, insatiable demand of Nigeria consumers for imported goods and insecurity.
The commissioner lamented that there was dearth of soft credit for the micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs), which he said would make them to upscale their products.

Ogunleye said there “is urgent need to begin to diversify our economy particularly with the dwindling revenue from oil occasioned by the fall in the price of crude oil in the international market.

“Industrialisation therefore must be at the front burner of every discourse backed by action through government programmes and projects in collaboration with the organised private sector. We have always been in the vanguard for the enhancement of Nigeria’s fiscal and monetary policies to drive the economy and create a wholesome environment for the private sector.”

He, therefore, noted that the state government “has always striven to create and sustain our status as a megacity. We have created a business friendly environment that would attract more local and foreign investments to the state to create jobs and increase productivity.

“We have set up our target at creating a 24/7 economy. Hence, we embarked on the Light-Up Lagos Project which has made movement at night more secure and alluring. Our development imperatives as state place on us the responsibility of developing strategies that will help to harness public and private investments,” the commissioner explained.

Ogunleye noted that the development imperatives “are critical to building a dynamic and expanding economy that is functional and visually attractive. We have predicated our development plans on four parameters comprising economic development pillar, infrastructure development pillar, development and security pillar and sustainable environment pillar.”

Reflecting on how it created enabling environment and attracted local and foreign investors to the state, the state government added that the country “is yet to get its economic framework right.”

He, thus, lamented diverse challenges facing the emerging industrialists across the country, thereby saying macro-economic framework “has always been the challenge for our economy. Nigeria is yet to get right.”

He lamented unprecedented variations in the available economic data, which he said, were normally presented to justify that the Nigerian economy “is not diversified. There is visible diversity from available statistics.”
Upon the rebasing of the Nigerian economy in 2014, Ogunleye said oil then “accounted for 37 per cent and down to 16 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Agriculture accounts for 22 per cent and manufacturing 7.4 per cent from as low as 1.9 per cent prior to rebasing.

“The trade and services sector accounts for 54 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The question is why has the manufacturing sector has been unable to account for at least 50 per cent of the GDP and upward of 80 per cent of export earnings,” he explained.

Ogunleye explained that the country had failed embark on large-scale agricultural value added development and industrialisation, saying it implemented infrastructure overhaul “to boost power supply.
“We did not adopt and implement comprehensive infrastructure overhaul to boost power supply and thereby save manufacturers from the cost-push inflation trend occasioned by huge expenditure on power generators and other alternative source of energy,” he added.