Obinna Chima and Nume Ekeghe
The Lagos State government has revived the state’s economic summit popularly called Ehingbeti, six years after the last edition was held.
The 2020 edition of the summit is expected to hold on November 10th and 12th.
Speaking during an interactive session with journalists in Lagos yesterday, the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Lagos State, Mr. Sam Egube, said this year’s edition would be held virtual.
According to him, most of the developments recorded in the states over the years were from ideas and recommendations gathered from previous editions of the summit.
He said the summit which is a collaboration between the state and private sector operators has seen the government implement 109 out of 119 resolutions suggested to the state government in past editions.
For instance, Egube, pointed out that the rail line projects, the Lekki toll gate, among others, were recommendations from Ehingbeti.
Speaking further, Egube who is also the Co-chair of the summit said: “The summit has a rich history and is firmly established as a credible forum for stimulating economic growth for Lagos state. It is our belief that you cannot lead a place like Lagos with one mind you have to bring together all the minds.
“The first one was hosted in 2000 making this the 20th year since the first summit was held. The first three editions were deliberately diagnostic but by the fourth one, we had started to create a blueprint and have started to implement it from the early decisions that had been made.
“So far about 119 resolutions were taken in the history of Ehingbeti, 109 of them have been implemented.”
He added: “The good thing about the summit is that the government is responsible for the decisions taken and we are obliged to report back to the next Ehingbeti what we have done with the decision we took and if there are challenges, we highlight what those challenges were and take other decisions on how to repair those challenges.
“To some it appears the ambitions are too high, because how do you put private sector in the lead and collaborate in that manner. They have wondered whether government can be trusted to follow through with this idea of collaboration, but the performance shows that yes, we follow through.”
According to him, with the summit, what the Lagos state government is trying to do is stimulate contribution from the private sector, get them interested in the governance of the state and lead the way in terms of the outcomes.
“For example, the whole idea about the blue line, the red line, the rail master plan are things that came out of Ehingbeti. Today we see the rail line is on its way those are big projects that sometimes it is difficult to take such decisions on your own but when the private sector comes together and say let’s do this, it increases confidence in taking such leap. I can tell you that we are on our way to deliver the red and blue line,” he added.
He further added that the entire Lekki-Ikoyi toll bridge project came out of Ehingbeti discussion.
“The fact that we are trying to expand our activities on the waterways is also Ehingbeti. Lagos homes ownership scheme rent to build scheme, all of these came out of Ehingbeti,” he added.
Co-chair Ehingbeti, who also doubles as the Chairman Citibank Nigeria, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, stressed that the state continually outshines others in the country because of its continuous dialogue and collaboration with the private sector.
Cardoso said: “It is timely that this happening and I say that because Covid-19 and its aftermath has wreaked havoc in economies around the world and we are no exception to that and when it going to end nobody knows.
“All we know is that countries around the world, pay dearly from being on lockdown and for any lockdown, you have a corresponding loss in Gross Domestic Product.
“With the challenges ahead and Lagos being the economic nerve center of the country, there is a large responsibility to ensure that they protect the citizens of the state and this is something that can’t happen unless it is planned for.
“So, it is a great opportunity for we in the private sector to come together with the government again to show what Lagos is truly made off and show what Lagos can truly do in the most difficult and challenging circumstances of which we are in.”
“As we go forward into the future of Ehingbeti, we would celebrate the past and the 20-year anniversary and then put our heads together to define the future. And what we need to do to stay ahead in the challenges times that we are about to get into. Also, how everybody can have an input to the process and how would we as private sector talk about our issues, problems to get the government to collaborate and create an enabling environment for greater private sector investment.”
On her part, the Special Adviser on Sustainable Development Goals, Lagos State, Mrs. Solape Hammond said: “This forum creates an enabling environment for a most-needed conversation about Lagos and the way forward for the state in terms of growth and development which is what we are more interested in and creates that platform to give everybody a chance to contribute to the next phase of growth and development in Lagos.”
Furthermore, the Director General at Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Muda Yusuf said: “The process of Ehingbeti is about inclusiveness and we know that making the economy progress, is about promoting investment and that is what makes the difference between what Lagos and many other states.”