SANWO-OLU PLEDGES TO DOUBLE INVESTMENTS, YOUTH DEVT

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Babajide Sanwo-Olu

The eight Lagos State Economic Summit (Ehingbeti 2021) came to a close yesterday with the organisers and participants departing with actionable resolutions to chart a new course of physical development and economic growth for the State.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu pledged that the learnings and recommendations emanating from the summit would be developed into a policy framework to forge a new action plan and implementation that would bring the envisioned future of Lagos to reality.

The three-day event with the theme: “Greater Lagos: Setting the Tone for the Next Decade”, was largely held on a virtual platform, but some sessions held physically.

Over 11,000 people in 10 countries participated in the event, with an average record of 5,500 participants globally attending sessions daily.

Sanwo-Olu, in his closing address said the state government has started to look into the future and was ready to implement resolutions that would make Lagos adaptable to the new culture of business, which is driven by technology.

The Governor said Lagos took lessons from the disruption of economic activities created by the COVID-19.

He said: “As we have now successfully come to the end of this eighth edition of the summit, it is imperative to emphasise that the conversation must not end here.

“We must take the learnings and the conclusions from this Summit and use them to forge a plan of action and implementation that will ensure that the future we are envisioning for Lagos State comes to fruition.

“We have learnt, from the emergence and spread of the pandemic, that we can never be too prepared. So much has changed in the past year, humbling our confidence in the ability to predict and forecast what the future holds.

“The big lesson is that, we must deepen our scenario planning capabilities, as national and subnational governments, and as corporations and business entities. We must plan for every eventuality, including the next pandemic, which will eventually happen in the near or distant future.”

Sanwo-Olu said Ehingbeti, since year 2000 when it was first introduced during the administration of former Governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, had become a tool to re-invent Lagos.

He said the summit has become a platform for conversations about where Lagosians want the city to be headed, and how to fast-track the journey.

He said the development blueprint of his administration was designed as a road-map to guide the government on the journey to deliver Lagos of residents’ dreams.

The governor pledged to strengthen the economic potential of the youths, whom he described as critical stakeholders in delivering development programmes of the next decade.

Sanwo-Olu said the state government’s investments in youth-focused initiatives, such as Lagos Excel Project, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSSTF), Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC), were pointers to the readiness of the state to improve youth inclusion in governance and raise their entrepreneurial skills.

He said: “We must now begin to plan for the next summit, even as we also take action on the resolutions of this one. I call on the private sector to be aggressive in seeking out opportunities to partner with and support the Lagos State Government.

“Ehingbeti speaks to what government, the private sector and civil society can come together to accomplish through deliberate bilateral and multilateral partnerships.”

In his presentation, Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, described Lagos as, “the engine room” of the nation, stressing that the state remains fortunate to have been governed by visionary leaders over the years.

El-Rufai said he looked forward to more reforms that would further simplify Ease of Doing Business in Lagos.

“For us in Kaduna State, Lagos is a model that we follow. We look at Lagos as competitive advantage in many areas and try to implement reforms that will bring us closer to what Lagos has been able to achieve,” he added.

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