Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Wednesday said his administration remained committed to the holistic implementation of policies that would fast-track development of the state, making it desirable for investment.
Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Folasade Jaji, emphasised the commitment at the 2019 Africa Industrialisation Day/Young African Industrialists Week, with the theme: “Positioning African Industry to Supply Africa Continental Free Trade Area.” (AfCFTA).
The governor lauded key stakeholders for their contributions to the development of the industrial sector, particularly the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in spite of the harsh business environment.
“Considering the erratic and turbulent macro economic environment under which our industrialists operate, kudos should be given to stakeholders that have continued to remain in operation and contribute to the socio-economic development of the state.
“In the light of this, the provision of promotional tools that encourage the establishment and growth of businesses remains one of the major priorities of this administration.
“I assure you that we shall continue to formulate and implement policies and programmes that would consolidate the position of the State as the industrial and commercial hub of Nigeria,” he said.
The governor urged each state of the federation to initiate policies and programmes that would engender the development of the non-oil sectors as a panacea to the present economic downturn.
Also at the event, Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives of the state, Dr Lola Akande, called for the evolution of internal policies to act as catalysts for local industries to benefit from the opportunities available in the AfCFTA.
Akande revealed that the event included the exhibition of locally fabricated machines, equipment and innovative projects from schools in Lagos to create the desired linkages between machine producers, manufacturers of goods and end users.
She enjoined stakeholders to take advantage of the opportunity and make efforts to create the necessary synergy that would lead to value addition on the path to industrialisation, economic recovery and growth.
“The state government is aware of the challenges of industrialisation and for this reason has continuously keyed into programmes that are capable of boosting the potential of the private sector and creating a conducive business environment.
“The state has consistently supported the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) by devoting trade fairs to them.
“We have taken a step forward to at this forum include the exhibition of locally fabricated machine and innovative projects from schools in Lagos,” she said.
Mr Ibukunoluwa Akinrinde, Technical Anchor, Trade, Industry and Investment Policy Commission of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) urged Lagos to champion more public – private infrastructural partnerships.
This, he said, was necessary to address the various challenges affecting the manufacturing sector and properly position the country for the benefits of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement.
Akinrinde also called for an export review within the context of a trade policy framework to help keep up with the dynamism of world trade activities.
Mr John Aluya, Vice President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), said the manufacturing sector would be faced with very stiff competition, should the AfCFTA be implemented at the moment due to the challenges facing the sector.
He called for trade facilitation infrastructure, trade research programmes, reviewed and harmonised trade policies and a strengthened business environment to unleash manufacturing sector potentials.
“Cost of production must be reduced and an increased capacity building exercise must be in place to understand trade origin mechanisms to enjoy this AfCFTA,” he said.