Sanwo-Olu, business community brainstorm as Lagos economy rises to N41trilion

By Ayodele Olalere

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday met with the business community in the state to brainstorm on challenges facing the Ease of Doing Business in the state and proffer solutions as the state’s economy rises to N41trilion.

The meeting tagged ‘Lagos Corporate Assembly BOS Meets With Business Community’ themed ‘Unpacking Barriers to Ease of Doing Business: Accelerating Business Growth ‘ was held at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island and was the fourth time the governor would be meeting the community since 2019.

Governor Sanwo-Olu who was represented by his Deputy, Obafemi Hazmat, said the meeting was to discuss how to foster a conducive environment for businesses to thrive in Lagos State.

He noted that the business community has played a critical role driving the economy of the state and in positioning Lagos as a beacon of prosperity and progress.

Sanwo-Olu said Lagos has 14 Industrial Estates, four Central Business Districts and is responsible for 60% of the nation’s commercial activities ;contributes 30% of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 50% of the non-oil GDP and has the fourth highest GDP in Africa after Cairo, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The governor further said various policies have been put in place to ease the doing of business in Lagos such as the regulatory processes, improved infrastructure as well as technology.

He said his administration takes the Lagos Corporate Assembly as a crucial platform for public private dialogue, where challenges facing businesses can be identified, solutions discussed and a new course is charted for sustainable economic growth and development.

He assured of his administration’s commitment to providing the necessary resources, infrastructure, and policies that will ensure businesses not only survive but thrive.

The Commissioner for Commerce, Cooperatives , Trade and Investment, Folashade Ambrose Medebem said in recent years, Lagos economy has grown from N27 trillion to N41 trillion.

She noted that the Ministry is in the process of constituting an Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) team that will be tasked with interfacing with stakeholders in the business community via a one stop shop virtual interface powered by technology.

Medebem added that as the commercial hub and economic powerhouse of Nigeria, Lagos State government realised that creating a wholesome operating environment is key to job creation, poverty eradication and overall economic development and expressed confidence that the Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat’s administration will stop at nothing to sustain and further build on the current milestones already achieved.

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.

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

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

Some of the concerns raised by the stakeholders at the meeting include multiple taxation, Police extortion, bureaucracy, influx of sub-standard products into the market among others.

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