Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday said the State has a critical role to play in taking Nigeria out of the current economic doldrums, just as he harped on the need for partnership between government and the private sector to address strategic challenges confronting the nation.
Governor Ambode, who spoke at the Lagos House in Ikeja when he received on courtesy visit members of the Governing Council of Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), who came to notify the Governor of the hosting right of the 22nd World Conference of Banking Institute to be held in Lagos in April 2017 and other activities of the Institute, said Lagos, as the economic hub of Nigeria and the West African region, contributes about 70 percent of the financial services in the country, and as such the State was in a good stead to lead the nation out of recession.
The Governor said the visit by the CIBN Council led by its President, Professor Segun Ajibola was apt as it came at a time that Nigeria was undergoing recession, but the cheering news was that the country was abundantly blessed with a group of people that can actually help the country out of recession, to which many of them are members of the Institute.
He, therefore, harped on the need for partnership between the government and the private sector, saying: "This is like a clearing call, we need this partnership to take us out of the doldrums. Irrespective of the fact that Lagos contributes like 70 percent of the financial services in this country and if there is anything that can take us out of recession, it has to start from us and from Lagos."
Besides, Governor Ambode said the story of the growth and development of Lagos could not have been completed without the huge contribution of the financial service industry, adding that the sector remained a veritable vehicle that has been able to drive professionals to contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the State.
According to the Governor, "The financial service industry stands out in terms of creating employment for our people, and in terms of contributing to the taxes, and as well creating capacity, and as such it will be unfair not to appreciate and commend everything that the CIBN has actually done to the growth and development of Lagos."
Speaking on the hosting right of the World Conference, Governor Ambode expressed excitement at the development, and assured that the State Government will partner with CIBN to use the platform to promote investment potentials in the State, as well as celebrate the 50 years anniversary of the creation of Lagos.
"Lagos is going to be 50 next year and President of the Council has talked so much about the hosting right of the conference. As a government, we are also trying to brand Lagos as a world class city to live in, and so we will partner and support the conference and list it as part of the events to celebrate Lagos at 50 and use it as a platform to promote financial tourism for the State.
"Lagos is the financial hub of Nigeria and by extension maybe the West African coast, and the good thing is that the infrastructure we have been able to provide are aimed at allowing businesses to thrive. We are trying our best but the fundamentals remained the fact that the city has to be safe so that businesses can thrive.
The Governor also expressed readiness to partner with CIBN to create a structured capacity building for State officials with the view to getting a stream of hardworking professionals.
Earlier, Ajibola commended Governor Ambode for the massive infrastructure development ongoing in the State, especially the improvement on security, the Light Up Lagos Project, ingenious traffic management strategy in strategic locations across the State such as the Iyana Oworo Lay-by, Ketu-Alapere Slip Road, multifaceted Berger expansion projects, Ojota Pedestrian Bridge; road rehabilitation, Light Rail Project, among others.
"As at today, the banking community is more than happy with the State of security in Lagos State. Our banks are now safer; our ATM locations are safer; we see secured human and properties more than ever before within Lagos and its environs," Ajibola said.