W’Bank: Nigeria Needs Lagos to Achieve Growth, Stability

  • Says Lagos is a gateway to the world
  •  Ambode seeks support for transport reforms

Gboyega Akinsanmi

The World Bank, an international financial institution, thursday said Nigeria would really need Lagos to achieve sustainable growth, citing people-oriented approach of its leadership to governance and infrastructure development.

The bank also acknowledged the national, regional and local significance of the state, which it said, was not only the geo-strategic gateway to Nigeria and Africa, but also to the rest of the world.

The Country Director of the bank, Mr. Rachid Benmessaoud, thursday gave the account at a meeting with the state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode at the State House, Alausa alongside other staff member of the bank’s country office.

The meeting was also attended by the Senior Operations Specialist, World Bank, Mrs. Ngozi Udolisa; Senior Transport Specialist, World Bank, Mr. Tunji Ahmed, the Special Adviser to on Audit & Finance, Mr. Adeniyi Popoola and the State Head of Service, Mrs. Olabowale Ademola, among others.

At the meeting, the country director acknowledged the giant strides the Ambode administration had recorded in the last two years, which he ascribed the reasons the state had been receiving global attention.

He specifically said the role of Lagos to the stability and growth of Nigeria could not be overemphasised, thereby describing the state as the economic gateway to the country and for the rest of the world.

He said: “Nigeria needs Lagos. Lagos is a huge part of the growth for Nigeria. The growth is about job creation and stability of the country. We are really honored to have been your partner. We will be honoured to continue the partnership.

“We really acknowledge the national, regional and local importance of Lagos being the gateway to Nigeria and for the rest of the world. There is a success story that is being told not only in Nigeria, but also in different parts of the world.

“That success story is really thanks to the leadership that Ambode has brought in with a clarity of vision and the speed by which this administration takes decision and implements programmes and projects.”

He gave insight into diverse engagements the bank had with the state government previously, noting that Lagos “has been unique in Nigeria. As the existing partnerships were coming to a close, they were looking at other opportunities to build on the positive momentum. We will continue partner the state on its urban regeneration drive.

“We are closing our ongoing portfolio which is very small right now. We will very much like to support you and go for the next generation of programmes that are responsive for your vision. We are very pleased to partner with you as you set an agenda for a transformative state.”

Also at the meeting, Ambode appreciated the bank for the partnership over the years, which he said, had contributed to the success of Lagos State, especially in the transportation sector.

Ambode noted that his administration had designed a work plan to integrate water, rail and road transport system to evolve a viable means through which Lagos residents could commute with ease.

He said the new sets of proposal “are the kind of strategy we should put for Lagos State. That is what this visit speaks to. I will like to see a strong support in the transport sector so that we have support for water, rail and other infrastructure projects that go with it.

“We already have a work plan that integrates the three together. We will share with the World Bank and improve on our discussions in terms of advisory management, financing and different kind of support that ultimately help us to deliver the dividends of democracy that we actually promised our people.

“We want to improve on transportation, improve on environment and power. We believe that is the whole essence of making the state investor friendly. We have improved a lot on security.

“Moving about 23 million people daily in a comfortable way will mean that we will have to integrate our transport management system in such a way that you can move actually on water, using the rail also and then the road.”