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Activating Lagos economic transformation plan for next decade

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The Lagos State has for decades retained its premium position as the economic hub of the nation. The  private sector-led Lagos Economic Summit Group (LESG), popularly called ‘Ehingbeti’,  is one of the state’s initiatives to have private sector’s input on the design and operation of its growth and development plan. The ‘Ehingbeti’ summit has played a pivotal role in the transformation of the state, with useful input from private sector. COLLINS NWEZE writes that the ‘Ehingbeti’ virtual summit slated for next month will attract private sector’s input into the state’s economic and development plan for the next decade.

The private sector is the engine of growth across global economies. Successful businesses drive growth, create jobs and pay the taxes that finance services and investment.

In developing countries, the private sector generates 90 per cent of jobs, funds 60 per cent of investments and provides more than 80 per cent of government revenue.

The need for private sector input in the design and implementation of the government’s economic plan and execution cannot be over-emphasised.

Being a major contributor to national income, the principal job creator and employer in the economy, it takes a wise government to seek and secure private sector input in its economic planning and implementation.

Hence, it was applauded when the Lagos State Government announced that one of its plans for the Lagos Economic Summit (LES), popularly called Ehingbeti, was to get private sector and the citizens to make input on how they want to be governed and the economic route they want the state to follow.

Ehingbeti will provide a robust platform for deliberations on pragmatic optimisation of the inherent opportunities in Lagos and offer perspectives on how to manage the peculiar socio-economic landscape of the State in the coming decade.

Co-Chair of the Ehingbeti Economic Summit, Olayemi Cardoso, said the  government would use the summit to sustain socio-economic development in the state.

As economies around the world begin to implement recovery strategies from the shockwave of coronavirus, Cardoso explained that the virtual Lagos Economic Summit Group (LESG), which will hold on November 10 to 12, will provide a robust platform for deliberations on pragmatic optimisation of the inherent opportunities in Africa’s fifth largest economy, and offer perspectives on how to manage the peculiar socio-economic landscape of the state in the coming decade.

He said: “The three-day summit, which will be a hybrid of virtual and live events, will draw participation from various sectors of the economy and across the globe. With the absence of the economic summit in the past four years, there seemed to be a decline in the rate of public-private collaboration in this state. This year’s summit is aimed at reconnecting with the private sector, which is the bedrock of the Lagos Economic Summit.”

Cardoso, who also is the Chairman Citibank Nigeria, said Lagos State continually out-shined other states and is regarded as a state that works is because of the continual dialogue and collaboration with the private sector.

He said:  ”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 20th 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.”

Cardoso said the new  Ehingbeti logo is an embodiment of meanings and expression of the state ideals. The convergence of colours in the logo connotes the essence of Ehingbeti as a participatory forum for integrating local and international stakeholders to exchange ideas and chart a path for the socio-economic development of Lagos State.

“The bright star above the image of the iconic ‘Agba Meta’ is a depiction of the result of working together to deliver the stellar accomplishments that define the city state of Lagos and the pervasive atmosphere of economic stability in the state.  I am happy to let you know that the image of the ‘Agba Meta’ is a representation of the sculpted white cap chiefs built to welcome people into Lagos. The logo is to emphasise our pride in culture as we welcome participants to Ehingbeti 2002 and beyond,” Cardoso said.

Lagos State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Sam Egube said  the summit, now in its 20th year, is with the theme:  For a Greater Lagos: Setting the tone for the next decade

He said many decisions reached at the previous Ehingebti summits have been implemented.

“We need to keep the private sector in the know of how the state should be run. We want to get the private sector input on how to protect the citizens of the state from poverty. The Blue and Red rail projects that is about to start operations, Lekki Toll Gate and others were part of the suggestions raised by the previous summit,” he said.

He said the state wants to 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 rail 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 further added that the entire Lekki-Ikoyi toll bridge 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.

Special Adviser on Sustainable Development Goals, Mrs. Solape Hammond, said the LESG wants to create enabling environment for every one to contribute to the next growth for Lagos while the Director-General at Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Muda Yusuf, said  Ehingbeti is about inclusiveness. According to him, the summit will help to put the economy on the continued path of progress.

Also, Academic Director, Lagos Business School (LBS), Prof. Yinka David-West, said everyone has a dream about Lagos, and the summit will help harmonise such dreams for collective good and economic transformation.

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