Fashola closes Lagos Trade Fair with appeal for investment

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Kazeem Ugbodaga

After 10 days of trading, this year’s Lagos International Trade Fair came to an end, with Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State calling on the private sector to invest more in the state’s economy.

Speaking at the Trade Fair, held at the Tafawa Balewa Square, TBS, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria on Sunday, the governor stressed that for Lagos to meet up with the mega city status, more private investment is needed in the state.

“We have long recognized that for us to achieve our dream of becoming Africa’s model megacity by 2015, there is the need to attract more private sector investments into the State in order to create jobs and increase productivity.

“Our development obligations as a State place on us the responsibility of developing strategies that will help us to harness public and private investments with a view to having a dynamic and expanding economy that is functional and visually attractive,” said Fashola, who was represented by the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Sola Oworu.

The governor said Lagos’ role as an economic and financial hub in the sub-region required that “we prioritize the improvement of vital infrastructure in such a way and manner that will facilitate the creation of a business environment conducive to private sector investments. As such and in line with our development imperatives, we have predicated our Development Plans on pillars that take into account the need for economic development, infrastructure development, social development and security as well as sustainable environment.”

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He stated that the development challenges of a growing megacity and State like Lagos required that government targeted investment in key areas that would drive growth, particularly in a world economy that is getting increasingly globalised.

Fashola said, although, the structure of the state’s economy, when examined by its Gross Domestic Product, revealed the preponderance of investments in the area of hospitality, financial services, trade and commerce, saying that government was poised to broaden the prevalent economic structure through diversification to promote potential growth industries and sectors such as agribusiness, power, transportation and housing.

According to him, government’s efforts in this regard clearly accentuated the need to confront the challenges of globalization headlong, with a view to repositioning the state for greater economic responsibility in the face of global competition.

The governor reiterated that there was no shortcut to success, saying that “we need to begin to reorder our priorities in line with our vision and mission, which requires that we function efficiently and become economically productive in order to create sufficient wealth that will end poverty and bring widespread benefits to all the citizens of the State.

“The task of achieving the goal of sustainable economic development is by no means an easy task. Rather, it thrusts upon us the task of evolving sound economic policies that will stand the test of time and also provide the much needed roadmap for our journey to economic recovery.”

Commissioner for Commerce and Indutry, Oworu, whose speech was read by the Director of Commerce in the Ministry, Mr. Hakeem Adeniji enjoined all to demonstrate the renewed confidence in the State’s economy by showing their commitment and support to the sustenance of economic activities in the State.