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Lagos GDP grows from N27 Trillion to N41 Trillion under Sanwo-Olu

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-PEBEC to assess 50% of Nigeria’s economy with laxity

 

IBRAHIM QUADRI

 

In promoting the ease of doing business, the Lagos State Government says its Gross Domestic Products, GDP have grown from 27 trillion to 41 trillion naira under the administration of the State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

 

The government believes the phenomenal growth has been made possible by initiating and implementing deliberate policies and intentional strategies to facilitate and promote conducive environment for business to thrive.

 

This came to the fore during the extraordinary 9th Lagos Corporate Assembly, LCA which is the 4th in the series of the BOS Meets With Business Community at Eko Hotel, Lagos.

 

With the theme; “Unpacking Barriers to Ease of Doing Business: Accelerating Business Growth.” LCA has become a virile public-private engagement platform, through which the State Government and the business community interact and discuss issues that are germane to Ease of Doing Business and business prosperity in the State.

 

Representing the State Governor, his Deputy, Dr Kadri Obafemi Hamzat said, “This gathering is a testament to our unwavering commitment to fostering a conducive environment for businesses to thrive in Lagos State.

 

“Lagos, the economic hub of Nigeria, is home to a diverse and dynamic business community. As your Governor, | am profoundly aware of the critical role you play as the engine driving the economy of our State. Your resilience, innovation, and contributions have been instrumental in positioning Lagos as a beacon of prosperity and progress.

 

“With this role that you play, it is always very exciting to reiterate that Lagos occupies the enviable position of the fifth largest economy in Africa. Its economy remains exceedingly active with fourteen industrial estates and four Central Business Districts (CBD). It hosts seventy percent of the country’s total industrial investment, sixty percent of the nation’s commercial activities, contribute thirty percent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and fifty percent percent of the non oil GDP.

 

“As the most urbanised cosmopolitan in West Africa and largest market in sub Saharan Africa, Lagos has the fourth highest GDP in Africa after Cairo, Johannesburg and Cape Town. Its GDP is equivalent to twenty-four African countries combined.

 

“Let me state here that, through our T.H.E.M.E.S+ Development Agenda, we remain steadfast in our commitment to sustaining an enabling environment for businesses to grow and thrive. This agenda encapsulates our vision for a Greater Lagos, particularly the 4th Pillar M, which is Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy.

 

“Using the instrument of the agenda, we have introduced numerous policy reforms to ease the act of doing  business in Lagos. We are simplifying regulatory processes, improving infrastructure, and leveraging technology to streamline interactions between businesses and government agencies. Our goal is to minimize bureaucratic bottlenecks and create a seamless experience for all businesses operating in our State.

 

“A case in point was when the Ministry of Commerce, Cooperatives, Trade & Investment, in conjunction with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC interfaced to align the position of a State Agency with a platinum PEBEC member towards facilitating a mutually agreeable working relationship. The role brought the parties to a dialogue table in an atmosphere of equity and fairness. This is the way we want to continue to work as both State MDAs and members of the Organised Private Sector see each other as partners in progress.

 

“As an administration, we take the Lagos Corporate Assembly as a crucial platform for public private dialogue, where we collectively identify challenges, discuss solutions, and chart a course for sustainable economic growth and development. This is because we recognise the power of stakeholder engagement and the importance of providing a listening ear to the business community.

 

“Our resolve is to make the LCA a formidable platform for public private collaboration, ensuring that your voices are heard and your concerns are addressed promptly. We are determined to turn the feedback we receive from you into actionable policies that will further ease the business environment in Lagos.

 

“I  assure you of our continued support as our administration is unreservedly committed to providing the necessary resources, infrastructure, and policies that will ensure your businesses not only survive but thrive. We will continue to engage with you, listen to your needs, and implement reforms that will foster an environment necessary to grow your businesses.”

 

While assuring the business Community to incorporate their feedback into policy formulation and regulatory reviews, Sanwo-Olu noted, “As we gather here today, let us reaffirm our collective commitment to overcoming the barriers to ease of doing business. Let us work together to accelerate business growth, create more jobs, and drive economic development in Lagos State.”

 

A member of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC, Dr Jumoke Oduwole said the mandate of the council was to remove bureaucratic bottlenecks and improve the perception of doing business in Nigeria.

 

The Council which is chaired by the Vice President, Alhaji Kashim Shettima has other members including 19 ministers, representatives from the national Assembly, judiciary, states, local governments among others.

 

Oduwole said, “We work with friends of Nigeria, development partners and diplomatic corps and Civil society groups. We also work with regulatory bodies that you encounter on daily basis.

 

“We listen to complaints from your companies directly or through social media and we look at international best practices and engage with MDAs. We negotiate this: why does it take 10 steps in Nigeria while in Ghana, it takes only three steps and in Singapore, it takes only four minutes? We break down the process and we say what can we do better.”

 

She explained that since inception in 2016, PEBEC had been focusing on MDAs which represent 50 percent of Nigeria’s GDP, saying “It is time to start looking at other 50 percent. It is a continuous process.”

 

Oduwole disclosed that since the council collaborate with sub-national, states with performance results would have its share of 750m dollars domiciled with Federal Government from World Bank.

 

The Commissioner for Commerce, Cooperatives, Trade and investment, Mrs. Folashade Ambrose-Medebem stated, “Here in Lagos, we understand the language of business and what we need to do to get our investors and businesses to where they ought to be. This is why the State still retains its key status as the operational headquarters of many multinationals and Fortune 100 companies.

 

“More importantly, it is the reason why we are gathered here today. The Lagos Corporate Assembly (LCA) was designed as a public private engagement where issues affecting the business environment are presented by the private sector in a cohesive manner and discussed with Mr. Governor, with immediate directives to the responsible Ministries, Departments or Agencies, MDAs for resolution.

 

“Without doubt, Lagos State has been at the forefront of promoting the Ease of Doing Business reforms in Nigeria over the years. | am glad to note that according to the World Bank’s Subnational Doing Business Report, Lagos State applied and met all criteria to qualify for the first phase of the World Bank funded State Action on Business Enabling Reforms (SABER) programme.”

 

The Commissioner added that Lagos had implemented key reforms which covered land administration, obtaining development permits, electronic payment of taxes and levies, quick determination and resolution of commercial disputes, among many others, saying she is confident that these and other reforms would also score the State high on the other SABER Result Areas (RAs) and Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs).

 

“…In recent years, the economy has grown from 27 trillion to 41 trillion naira. This phenomenal growth has been made possible by initiating and implementing deliberate policies and intentional strategies to facilitate the ease of doing business and promote conducive environment that continue to attract investments into the State.

 

She revealed that the State is in the process of constituting an Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) Team that would be tasked with interfacing with stakeholders in the business community via a one stop shop virtual interface.

 

She noted, “his will be technology driven to meet the demand of the highly digitised local and global investors community. The virtual one stop shop interface will be enabled with robust connectivity to strategic global business gateways to enhance access to the State for the global business communities.”

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