By Nume Ekeghe
The Governor-elect of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has pledged to be more transparent and accountable to Lagos citizens when he assumes office.
Sanwo-Olu, who said this during a media briefing in Lagos yesterday, pledged to institute a quarterly interactive session on the state’s budget in order to give Lagosians updates and progress report on public expenditure.
The incoming governor also vowed to make the environment more conducive to attract foreign investments into the state.
Responding to a question on how to make the budget transparent and procurement open, he said: “The state government still publicises its budget on a year-on-year basis. We intend to continue, but beyond that, we would also do a quarterly review of our budget performance so that people can ask questions and we are accountable.
“In terms of transparency, we have a procurement law and we have a procurement agency. It is important for people to access them more. The ones that need to be published in terms of who gets the procurement, we would do it if it is not currently being done.”
He added: “So we would let people know on a quarterly basis how you are running your budget and how well you are doing and issues around transparency reduces.”
Commenting on his intention to ensure that increased foreign investments are attracted to Lagos state, Sanwo-Olu added: “Investments are just moving around and if you don’t take them and the opportunities, they move to some other jurisdiction. That is because money is always moving around the world.
“For us in Lagos, we believe it is a unique time and it is a rear opportunity for us to not only make the environment conducive for international investors to come, but to also ensure that what they need and what they require for them to be able to do businesses very well are available.
“That is, the Ease of Doing Business and the things that are within our control such as approvals, registration are within our own purview by ensuring those things are done in a timely manner and in a manner where they don’t leave with a negative experience.”
“We also need to go back to the core civil service and make them understand that change of investment works when you receive investors warmly.”
Furthermore, he assured that he would introduce further measures that would enhance support micro, small and medium scale enterprises.
According to Sanwo-Olu, his government would help businesses tap into the various single digit funding of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He said: “We would work with the central bank because some of these things are not within our control. So we would ensure that the grants can be accessible.
“We need to put people in clusters and strength in the numbers they can very quickly access the kind of single-digit funding from the central bank and they can upscale capacity.
“We would encourage people and putting resources in that space,” he added.
He also promised to work towards improving power supply in Lagos, which he stressed was important for economic development.
He said: “On the power side, I imagine that in 90 days, we should have had a clear-cut policy with the Discos and Gencos on how we must ensure that Lagos get powered up very quickly.”