Rising from its 3-day deliberation, which attracted 146 speakers, over 15,000 registrants and 6000 participants from across the globe, stakeholders at the Lagos Economic Summit have passed eleven resolutions for joint execution of the public and private sector in the quest to build the “Lagos of our dreams”.
Ehingbeti is an ingenuous socio-economic apparatus that has contributed significantly to the evolution of Lagos State into a major economy in sub-Saharan Africa and an admirable megacity, with expanding potentialities. The summit, hosted by successive administrations in Lagos State since the beginning of the 4th Republic, has consistently redefined the dynamics of public-private sector collaboration for development across social and economic indices in Lagos State.
The just concluded Ehingbeti also saw the state pledging to scale-up needed policies that would promote inclusive governance to accommodate all stakeholders, at the 8th edition of the public-private sector dialogue organized by the Lagos Economic Summit Group in the State since 2000.
Themed “For A Greater Lagos: Setting The Tone For The Next Decade”, the just concluded edition of Ehingbeti was a dialogue centered around values creation, social engagement and positioning Lagos as an investment hub for the next decade.
Specifically, the summit deliberated on a number of issues including Policies, Human Capital Development, Digital Economy, Sustainable Development Goals, Education, Health and Agriculture, which underscored the need to create a conducive environment for humans and the right business atmosphere for investment to flow into the state under a private sector-led programme.
Before presenting the summit resolutions, the Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for his goodwill and commitment to supporting Lagos State because of its special status, while acknowledging the World Trade Organisation (WTO) DG, Ngozi Okojo-Iweala, the Africa Development Bank (ADB) President, Akinwumi Adesina, Mo Ibrahim, British High commission; United State embassy, Consulates of France, Netherlands, Norway and United Arab Emirate for their support and contributions to the success of the summit.
According to him, “the summit examined six thematic areas the state must work on as: destination Lagos: shaping-up as world best investment destination; strengthening governance institutions and legislations; Fourth Industrial Revolutions: imperative and prospect for a decent economy; roadmap for a shared economy: ensuring inclusive human capital development; funding growth sustainably and sustainability resilience and impact”.
“We as a government look to deepen our work in these areas, through existing and good programmes such as the Lagos State Employment Trust Funds, Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council, Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment, Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation; and Ministry of Youth and Social Development have been embarked on”.
“With establishment of the state’s social register and social protection policy enacted in 2020, we will work to make the required social investment alongside our many partners in private and development sectors to meet the needs of our people. Above all, we recognised the place of citizens as critical stakeholders and commit to accord them their pride of place in our business processes and service delivery.”
However, in line with summit’s objectives, the Lagos State Deputy Governor presented the resolution as the event comes to an end.Some of the resolutions includes:
“Recognising that dramatic shifts have been brought about by the realities of the 21st Century as well as the roles of technology in all aspects of our lives, it is recommended that the Government continues to provide an enabling environment and support of technology hubs. It was also requested that the State continue to provide venture capital to budding businesses and SMEs to boost their start-up capacity as well as sustain them. We as a government will look to deepen our work in this area through existing and new programs at LSETF, LASRIC, and the Ministries of Wealth Creation, WAPA and Youth and Sports Development and welcome collaborators to work with us.
“The need to harness the power of the youths and to put policies and programs in place to unleash the potential of our teeming youth population was strongly highlighted. Policies must be robust and treat the youths as assets – and concerted youth-focused capacity building in digital literacy, STEM, the arts, entertainment, sports and other sub-sectors must be created by the Government in partnership with the private sector. We recognize that they are different from us and capable of making their own way in the world – therefore, we must seek to understand them and how to adequately support them.
“Another overwhelmingly emphasized point was the need to improve the State education system through a thorough overhaul of the curriculum with a view to providing an education that meets 21st Century realities thereby reducing youth unemployment.”
On infrastructure: “Some of the conspicuous infrastructure development, especially increased road networks, housing schemes and optic fibre investments were appreciated and encouraged to be scaled up to cater for its demographic endowment. Stakeholders in Lagos must collectively invest in the infrastructure of the future i.e telecommunication, the green economy and renewable energy.”
On ease of doing business: “Given the importance of ease of doing business, Government was implored to reinvent its processes and operations to improve transparency and accountability and secure the trust and confidence of stakeholders sustainably. The State also needs to continue promoting accountability through responsible and responsive revenue institutions as well prudent deployment of tax policy that can be accurately determined.”
All parties stressed the importance of and renewed commitment to improved partnerships and collaboration across national, state and other sub-national governments, the Private Sector, Civil Society and the international community, while the state legislative arm, through the Speaker, promised to support execution of the summit resolutions.
Additionally, sustainability experts have advised the need for an improved and more interactive relationship between the public and private sector in order to effectively promote its economic development goals while building a resilient and sustainable economy.
On SDGs, Lagos State has done much better compared to other states but remains far in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, according to Mohamed Yahya, resident representative in Nigeria, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), an international organization with presence in about 170 countries said at the Ehingbeti summit on Thursday.
Some of the challenges he sees inhibiting the achievement of the goals include financing, which he said is critical, climate Change and growing demographics among others.
Other panelists who spoke with him during the breakout session on ‘Sustainability, resilience and impact’, were of the view that the challenges can be tackled through collaboration with the public and private sectors of the economy.
“The agenda 2030 is Central to any of the discussions and for Lagos specifically. When we look at the progress of the SDG it’s critical to assess how well Lagos has performed in terms of obtaining the SDGs. Essentially when we talk about SDGs for Lagos what we are saying is we don’t want anybody in Lagos to be left behind,” Yahya said.