•Governor on London Sky News highlights key investment priorities, woos British investors
From London, United Kingdom (UK) on Friday, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu sends a statement of assurance to the global investment community on the positive results that will come out of the economic reforms being implemented by Nigeria President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The President, Sanwo-Olu said, took the “courageous step” by ending the fuel subsidy regime, which, he stressed, was a necessity to save the nation’s economy from the edge of catastrophe. The Governor said, although the action led to inflation, the money saved had been re-invested in various interventions geared towards stabilising the economy.
Sanwo-Olu shared the view on a live interview anchored on Sky News, a frontline British news channel, during which he also highlighted key areas of priority being explored by his administration to drive foreign investment into Lagos.
The Governor is on a weeklong business trip to London, where he participated in various bilateral meetings, including Lord Mayor’s Show.
Sanwo-Olu assured that relief would soon be felt by Nigerians as the President rolled out more interventions, noting that Tinubu came with a clear strategy to tackle the nation’s economic challenges, while pleading with Nigerians to be patient with the President.
He said: “I believe six months is a short term to evaluate President Tinubu’s far-reaching reforms but in terms of the clear strategy and focus, the Tinubu administration is there. What the President has done over the last six months, none of his predecessors had no audacity to do. He took the courage and removed the subsidy on petrol, which will save the country about $2.5 billion. These are funds that can go into other areas, such as education, health, and social investment. What he brings to the table is more important, having governed Lagos before.
“The fact that the President is challenging members of his cabinet to sit up and focus on the business of governance shows his commitment. He said he would not hesitate to kick out non-performing ministers. What we are asking the citizens is to give the President a bit more time. He has a bold, laudable economic agenda, known as Renewed Hope. In the next few months, we will begin to see relief coming out from all of the interventions he has put forward and the country will be better for it.”
Sanwo-Olu spoke about the readiness of Lagos to welcome more foreign investment in key sectors of the economy.
Although a sub-national, the Governor said Lagos remained a key player in African economic order, with a GDP bigger than economies of Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda and Senegal. He said the coastal State lacked the luxury of landmass, but had been a major player in service-focused investment, given its growing population and size of its market.
He said conversations around the potential in which the State was endowed had not been fully told, stressing that he personally led the State’s investment drive to London in order to avail foreign investors of requisite information and clear doubts that may be surrounding the State’s business climate.
Lagos, Sanwo-Olu said, recently constituted the International Financial Council as an advisory board to offer sufficient information to investors about red tapes, regulatory and legal framework guiding business in the State. He believed Lagos narrative could be used to tell the African story, pointing out that the investment drive would put the State where it should be in global economic order.
He said: “As part of our drive to promote more foreign direct investment into Lagos, we have recently constituted International Financial Council. The whole idea is for us to be able to let the world know what is happening in Lagos, starting with the Lord Mayor’s Show held in London. This is because Lagos shares a lot of history with London.
“The International Financial Council will be setting up strategies where we can handhold British companies and investors willing to come to Lagos to invest their capital. The Council will avail them of the red tapes, regulatory and legal framework. Investors will know what kind of permit and approvals they need to have. The Council will set up structures where communication and collaboration will be facilitated.”
Sanwo-Olu also highlighted technology, financial service sector, creative industry and consumer products as key areas of priorities the State Government was expecting to expand.
“The tech industry is very important. In the last four years, Lagos has become the capital of tech start-ups. The sheer number of entrants into the tech space shows that there is still a lot of depth we need to bring into the technology sector. Building capability in the technology space will help us drive and improve the financial service sector, where we have a whole lot of financial products needed to be deepened.
“We want to see a lot more international financial organisations coming to the sector. We want to have a creative industry to also be a key player in Lagos economy. Then, of course, General Consumer products. Because of the size of our population, we believe any investor can have a share of the market. Lagos does not have the luxury of land for extensive farming, but we are very well in other business areas because of the size of population and nature of services people need.”
CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY
17 NOVEMBER 2023