Fashola Launches State-Wide Inter-Connectivity, Charges Federal Lawmakers
Sep 11, 2008 - Lagos State Governor Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Thursday launched the State Wide Inter Connectivity Network and e-Pay system with a charge to Federal Lawmakers to consider the endorsement of a Special Status for Lagos as vote for progress in Nigeria.
At the historic event which saw the Governor in live Video conference with the Speaker of the House of Assembly, RT Hon Adeyemi Ikuforiji in Alausa and pupils of Dairy Farm Primary School Agege in Education District One, Mr Fashola reiterated his call on the National Assembly to consider a Special vote to meet the peculiar challenges of Lagos.
According to him, Lagos as a former Federal capital, a melting pot of cultures and the economic nerve centre of the country is home to people from all over Nigeria. He added that for members of the National Assembly who do not reside in Lagos or have assets there, they have one or two relatives residing in the State.
He informed that just as the country has witnessed the creation of a Ministry of the Niger Delta to address developmental issues and revenues, Lagos also have developmental issues but no revenues to back it.
He said funding has been delaying the state from embarking upon the construction of a 10 lane express road on the Lagos- Badagry Expressway which is estimated to cost N220Billion.
In addition, Governor Fashola said that the state has completed the design for a blue line mass transit rail from Okokomaiko to Marina in addition to the red line to run from Iddo to Ijoko in Ogun State but is being delayed by funding.
The Lagos State helmsman said the National Assembly will do Nigerians a favour if it votes for the implementation of the projects as preparations are intensified for the 2009 budget.
Speaking on the first rate technology driven project, Governor Fashola said the launch of the State wide Inter Connectivity Network and e-pay system would ensure that the state is better positioned to account for every kobo of revenues that come into the system.
According to Governor Fashola who spoke at the Muson Centre Onikan venue of the launch, it would also ensure that all revenues go to where they are supposed to go to in addition to increasing the capacity to block leakages and improve efficiency and accountability.
The Governor added that the e-pay service would improve the cost of doing business in Lagos, stressing “for those who think this is all about revenue alone, I invite them to look further and see what we see in terms of jobs, security, improved healthcare, education and Brighter Rewarding Future”.
Said he: “The opportunities are limitless. I think the most devastating blow is being struck to poverty today. We are poised to continue to consolidate our position as a model city where things work and being a destination of choice for its residents, investors and tourists”.
He added that the new programme would create jobs and enable the state increase its capacity to offer services at a more efficient pace, adding that it means the Oba of Badagry, Aholu Menu Toyi 1 of Badagry can have a short discussion with the Governor from Badagry without driving down to Lagos.
He explained that what this means is that people in Badagry can make critical payments and get verifications for it without putting their cars on the road, thus ensuring shorter traveling time, more petrol efficiency in cars and more money in individual pockets.
He said more than 50 years after one man came with the most audacious revolution of free education; it has been transformed to provision of scholarships, payment of exam fees and provision of micro finance vocational centres.
He added that the free education still lives on in different forms and shapes for the development of humanity, adding that, “we would take ideas and take them to the next level as long as we believe that they are in the best interest of the people”.
In his address, Commissioner for Science and Technology, Dr Obafemi Hamzat said with the launch of the programme, the drive to digitalize Lagos has started, adding that it would transform Lagos into a knowledge based economy.
He added that through the interconnectivity network, everywhere in Lagos would be connected thus ensuring better administration, security of life and property and discourage touting while enhancing government revenue.
In a presentation titled “The Role of Information and Communication Technology in Enhancing Government Revenue-Insights into The Lagos State Experience”, former Commissioner for Finance, Mr Olawale Edun said ICT is beneficial to both government and taxpayers as it brings value added services to the taxpayer.
He said it not only makes it difficult for revenue authorities to arbitrarily impose taxes on the people, it also makes tax evasion and avoidance difficult.
He explained that employment of ICT in tax administration falls in line with best practices all over the world and that Lagos now boasts of a world class telecommunication infrastructure that has simplified its tax administration process.
The Managing Director of Alpha Beta Company, Mr Olumide Ogunmola said one of the attributes of the e-payment system is that it generates instantaneous response without having to wait for receipts.
The milestone event which had in attendance dignitaries from both the private and public sector, royal fathers also witnessed practical demonstration of the deployed system with live video transmission of different activity centres in the Lagos metropolis and a presentation from a representative of the technical partners of the project, Mr Sam Talbot.