Ruwase: LCCI committed to promotion of value addition in non-oil sectors

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The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has reiterated its resolve to promote value addition in non-oil sectors of the economy in a bid to enhance industrialization and fast-track the pace of economic growth.

The President of the Chamber, Mr. Paul Babatunde Ruwase who stated this in his opening remarks at the Lagos State special day during the just concluded Lagos International Trade Fair on Sunday stated that the year’s fair with the theme ‘Connecting Businesses, Creating Value’ was aimed at meeting the aspirations of investors, businesses, government parastatals and state governments like Lagos State.

Ruwase noted that with this theme, the Lagos Chamber was drawing the attention of policy makers and economic managers on the need to restructure and diversify the productive base of the economy to critical non-oil sectors like agriculture and manufacturing.

In his words, “The Chamber remains resolute in promoting value addition in the non-oil sector in a bid to enhance industrialization and fast-track the pace of economic growth.”

He observed that Lagos State, which was Nigeria’s commercial capital, would be the 5th biggest economy in Africa, if it were a country even as he pointed out that Lagos State alone accounted for almost a third of Nigeria’s aggregate internally generated revenue (IGR).

The President further added that the state took the front seat as the most attractive investment destination in Nigeria stating that official data by the National Bureau of Statistics showed Lagos State attracted USD 4.13 billion worth of foreign capital in the second quarter 2019, which was 72% of total USD 5.82 billion imported to Nigeria.

“We commend the Executive Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu for his private sector-led growth initiative as well as his resolve to make Lagos work for everyone. The present state administration continues to leverage Private-Public Partnerships (PPPs) to promote sustainable growth and development.

“The USD 629 million financing facility between Lagos State and China’s Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) for the completion of Lekki Deep Seaport project due 2021 is an attestation of robust investor confidence in the state. Permit me to say that Nigeria’s upward progress to the 131st position in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business reflects the effectiveness of various reforms implemented in Lagos, as 77% of businesses captured in the report were drawn from Lagos.

“The state continues to show readiness to partner private investors for inclusive growth and development. The Lekki Free Trade Zone, which offers incentive like 100% ownership of foreign investment, 100% repatriation of dividend & profit and tax-free on goods imported for re-exports, is a perfect example of the state’s resilience to foster investment”, he said.

Ruwase however acknowledged the bold step taken by the Executive Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for proposing a 2020 budget that addresses the developmental challenges affecting the good people of Lagos State.

He said, “The proposed budget tagged ‘Awakening to a Greater Lagos’ anchored on a N1.17 trillion expenditure plan, will be financed by an estimated internally generated revenue of N1.07 trillion and N97.53 billion funding from internal and external sources. What interest us the most is the fact that the state government intends to spend 62% of total expenditure on physical and social infrastructures and the adoption of Performance Management System to ensure transparency and compliance.

“The council and entire membership of the Lagos Chamber felicitate with the Executive Governor Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-olu, on your electoral victory at the court of appeal.  This victory will further give you and your team the impetus to continue the good work you have started to make doing business in Lagos more conducive, promote commerce and generally improve the quality of life.

“As the Nigeria’s foremost and premier chamber, the Lagos Chamber will not relent in engaging government at federal and state levels through our policy advocacy programmes to embrace reforms deemed friendly by investors to make our business environment more hospitable for small & medium scale enterprises, big corporates, investors, multinationals and other stakeholders.”

Photo: LCCI President, Mr. Babatunde Paul Ruwase.

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