Lagos State Government recently unveiled an initiative tagged, ‘Lagos to the World’, to expose activities of the state and attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the state.
The Special Adviser to the governor on Overseas Affairs and Investment, Prof. Ademola Abass said at the media launch of the that the state government had been doing a lot in recent times to attract more FDI but, noted that in spite government effort, very little was known about its giant strides on investment.
He said the state had a prominent role to play in the overall economy of the nation, adding that 65 per cent of the manufacturing activities usually take place in the state.
According to him, the state also contributed 30 per cent to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and accounted for over 90 per cent of the country’s trade flow.
“What informed this, simply, is that we felt the world needs to know what Lagos state has been doing in the last three years, especially in terms of investment.
“How Lagos has been improving on its infrastructure development, or in terms of security, roads, energy, among others.
“Most of these things really are what attract investors, but the story is not being told out there.
“So, the whole essence is to make the effort of the office known in trying to project Lagos more forcefully in terms of the investment opportunities,” he said.
Abass recalled that office, which was established in 2015 by Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode, had broken a lot of bureaucratic bottlenecks as a one-stop shop for doing business with ease.
The professor noted that prior to the establishment of the office, all business and licensing processes for establishing or expanding investment in the state was a multi-agency activity.
He added that businesses had to pass through every agency involved in business registration, tax payment, land administration and construction permits.
“The process was arduous, uneconomical and unproductive and was not appropriate for a mega city like Lagos.
“Numerous efforts being made by the state government are all geared toward enhancing the ease of doing business in the state.
“Some of the reforms include but not limited to tax reforms, ease of permits application processes, improved land registration system, quicker proposal processing and so many others.
“These are areas where investors had challenges in the past which brought about discouragement that led to low level of investments in Lagos.”
Contributing, the Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye, said that the state had the market ready to showcase the potential to the world, hence the need to push the narrative.
An entrepreneur, Mrs Nkiru Balogun, while sharing her experience of doing business in Lagos said that the state had been opened to business.
She described the state as a place where small businesses could become big with enhanced security.
An Arts enthusiast, Mrs Bolanle Austen-Peters, also described Lagos as a safe, captivating, vibrant city, where business of any kind could thrive.
The event had in attendance representatives of some diplomatic missions and members of the corporate world, among others.