By Rukayat Moisemhe and Florence Onuegbu
Lagos, Feb. 16, 2021 President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday pledged that the Federal Government would support massive investments in Lagos State to boost its economic potential as one of the world’s fastest growing megacities.
Buhari made the pledge in a virtual goodwill message during the Lagos Economic Summit (Ehingbeti) 2021 themed: ”For a Greater Lagos: Setting the Tone for the Next Decade”.
He said that his administration recognised Lagos as central to the economic fortunes of Nigeria and had in the last few years demonstrated commitment to supporting it to unleash its full socio-economic potential.
According to him, one of the significant ways in which the Federal Government’s support has manifested to Lagos State is in the special federal funding that was approved in 2020 in acknowledgement of the state being an epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic.
”The challenges of Lagos must therefore be very clearly seen as part of the challenges of Nigeria, and the Federal Government will support Lagos to overcome its challenges and to thrive socially and economically.
”The Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund is investing in the reconstruction of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, while the Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki Expressway is a flagship project of our Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme, also known as Executive Order 7 of 2019.
”It was also this administration which granted approval to the Lagos State Government to rebuild the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road, a major road that links the busiest airport in sub-Saharan Africa to the continent’s fifth largest economy.
”The Federal Government is today completing the Standard Gauge Railway Line that will link Lagos to Ibadan in the first instance, and from there connect to Abuja and Kano, and bring ease and efficiency to what is Nigeria’s busiest transport corridor.
”Just last month, this new rail line achieved a milestone extension into the port complex in Apapa, setting the stage for a long overdue decongestion in that area,” he said.
Buhari said that his government had granted approval for the temporary transfer of the National Arts Theatre, an iconic federal asset on the Lagos landscape, to the Bankers’ Committee, which will invest in upgrading it and developing it into a world-class creative hub.
Buhari said that the enterprising young people in Lagos would be the biggest beneficiaries of the National Theatre, when fully upgraded into a world-class hub.
”Speaking of young people, we are aware of just how central they are to the Lagos economy, and to Nigeria as a whole.
”In the creative arts, culture and technology sectors, we are determined to continue to open up opportunities by which they can achieve their dreams and aspirations, as well as thrive in a safe, secure and increasingly prosperous country,” he said.
The president outlined the other initiatives of the Federal Government being implemented in Lagos to include the National Social Investment Programme, the Energising Economies Programme, the Economic Sustainability Plan, among others.
He commended the Lagos State Government for its collaboration with the Federal Government on human development programmes, adding that there was the need for understanding between the national and subnational governments.
”Let me also acknowledge and salute the fact that we have a forward-looking administration in Lagos that is focused on infrastructure and improving the ease of doing business and the overall quality of life of Lagosians.
”The theme of this year’s Lagos Economic Summit invites us all to share our aspirations for a megacity that boldly occupies its place in the global standing of Megacities.
”A Lagos that can keep up with its growing population in terms of housing, education, healthcare, security and jobs.
“A Lagos that is innovative and productive, and that ensures that its economic prosperity leaves no one behind,” Buhari said.