Nigeria – The Lagos State Government has attracted $8.32billion in investments within the last two years, just as it reiterated its ability to bring in, retain and leverage inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Sustainable Development Goals and Investment, Mrs. Solape Hammond, who disclosed this at the ongoing Y2021 Ministerial Press briefing organised to commemorate the second anniversary of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration, added that the economic policy of the State government is designed to improve the business climate of Lagos and promote socio-economic prosperity.
Hammond explained that the State Government, through the Office of Sustainable Development Goals and Investment, has in the last two years participated in several global campaigns to attract investments and partnerships for the execution of the SDGs-related projects. Accordingly, the Office has established a good relationship with embassies, high commissions and development agencies of several nations including the UK, Netherlands, France, China, Canada and Japan.
She confirmed that while the government is currently engaging several local and international organisations for various investment possibilities in the State, the Office has supported more than 12 private sector investors interested in Lagos.
Revealing that the Office has facilitated interventions on several investments with MDAs (Transport, Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Wealth Creation, Energy and Environment), Mrs. Hammond added that the office is set to launch an investment Deal Book that details investment prospects across major sectors in the State.
“Other strategies and efforts undertaken to promote sustainable investment in Lagos include the strategic partnerships with development agencies comprising the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Africa Development Bank (AfDB), World Bank and the French Development Agency (AFD)”, the Special Adviser said.
While noting that discussions on sister-city relationship with the United Arab Emirates are currently ongoing, Hammond disclosed that the Office has facilitated agreement of the Sustainable Cities programme with UK DFID as one of 15 cities in the global programme on urban regeneration and water transportation.
Besides exploring foreign collaborations to make Lagos a premier investment destination in Africa, the Special Adviser pointed out that the Office has established good relationship with Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) with the appointment of a Lagos Liaison Officer.
She also confirmed that the office is set to establish a “One-Stop-Shop” to improve the ease of doing business for potential and existing investors, who are desirous of setting up businesses in the State, adding that the creation will facilitate the process of granting approval for lands, buildings and taxes by all MDAs that are involved in business start-ups.
Speaking on the engagement model designed to amplify the delivery of sustainable development goals, the Special Adviser said the Office launched the maiden SDGs Week, in conjunction with some Organised Private sector players, where free food items were distributed to vulnerable citizens, instructional materials to primary school pupils and medical equipment to nursing mothers across the State.
On the effort to establish and strengthen resilience, livelihood opportunities and short term employment for Lagos residents, Hammond revealed that the Office launched and implemented the Conditional Cash Transfer Project in vulnerable communities, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
According to her, over 2,103 MSME owners received Unconditional Cash Transfer while 951 beneficiaries of ‘Cash for Work’, were paid to carry out environmental sanitation and hygiene for three months.
“The Office coordinated the launch of the Lagos Care Initiative, a socio-economic intervention programme for vulnerable residents designed to impact about 20,000 people, 69 markets and 2,512 MSMEs. Also, at the inauguration of the Lagos State Human Capital Development (HCD) Core Working Group, the Office was made the Secretariat of the Group, which aims to develop a strategy and action plan to increase Statewide HCD investment”, Hammond declared.
Also, the Special Adviser noted that the birth of the Lagos State Volunteer Corps (LSVC) is significant in encouraging citizen participation and inclusion in governance as individuals, corporations, civil society, the diaspora and international partners have been actively involved in carrying out both government and private initiatives.
With above 9,000 Lagosians signing up for the scheme, the Special Adviser stated that over 50,000 man-hours have been volunteered to execute several projects across the 57 LGs and LCDAs of the State, including the distribution of palliatives to Lagos residents during the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the distribution of the Mother, Infant and Child Health (MICH) Food Pack.
The Office, through the Lagos State Volunteer Corps and in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, LAWMA, Central Business District (CBD), and Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, has also carried out Clean-Up activities in some of the 57 Local Government and Local Council Development Areas.
Hammond also said, “Following the successful alignment of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda with SDGs, the Office launched the SDGs’ Champions in all Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs). The champions have been trained to provide timely and administrative data for tracking and reporting SDGs in Lagos State and for comparability and decision-making on sustainable action in compliance with global action”.
“We have also commenced an evaluation study on impact and outcome from SDGs projects in all MDAs with a view to monitoring progress achieved in line with SDGs targets and indicators and the reclassification of the Agenda with the Lagos State Development Plan (LSDP) Pillars and SDGs’ Targets”.