Lagos Economy On An Upward Swing As Ikeja City Mall Opens
…Shoprite Ikeja employs 300 on first day of operation
Government has played her role as catalyser of development - Fashola
Dec 14, 2011 - The economy of Lagos State on Wednesday recorded a major upward swing as the massive five hectares Ikeja City Mall was flagged opened for business by the State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN).
Addressing a gathering of selected guests, investors, bankers and notables at the new shopping mall, the Governor said the new mall, which is stocked with 75percent locally sourced materials, represents an empowering of small businesses through a retail revolution.
"The number of new small businesses that are opening or expanding their outlets are the measures of real growth in any economy. Everywhere you see a mall opening; it is a positive sign for that economy".
"It speaks of an increasing demand for outlet spaces for small businesses like eateries, salons, grocery shops, cell phone and IT outlet stores, jewelers, ice cream, popcorn and entertainment outlets like cinemas which are the things we will see in this mall of 94 outlets".
"The possibilities are seemingly endless. Investment and opportunities have converged; prosperity is imminent and a brighter and rewarding future is assured", the Governor stated
Governor Fashola stressed that the Ikeja mall which represents a total investment of $97Million exposes the fallacy in the argument that the Lagos economy is losing business.
"It shows the inability to appreciate and critically analyze increasing diversification of the Lagos economy to empower service providers and small and medium enterprises", he asserted.
He explained that as a Government, the commitment of the administration and support for the mall was informed by business and other life style considerations, stressing that: "First, it was our desire to use it to redistribute traffic away from the Lekki Mal and in that way re-energise the ikeja Central Business District and its environs as a stand-alone and self- sufficient business districts for almost four million residents, that will ultimately reduce the uni-directional traffic we see on a daily basis between the Mainland and the Island".
The Governor affirmed that the State Government has played her role as a catalyser of development, stating that the approvals and resettlement of the existing users led to the commencement of construction on the site in January 2010 which has culminated in the commissioning during which 1000 people were employed.
He said while the construction jobs and construction related employment may no longer be available on the site, "a new set of employees and the employers would move in to the Shopping Mall in an endless exchange of goods and services that will create jobs for our young population".
"I expect also that small businesses who carry out cleaning and maintenance, and those who provide security services will find employment here. Indeed every new mall is a new destination that provides expanding demand for new route services to transport providers like buses and taxis", the Governor explained.
He also expressed the hope that Actis has not finished in Lagos as Alimosho, Ikorodu, Badagry are axis of Lagos with the sufficiency of markets driven by sheer population to justify another mall.
He offered his sincere congratulations to Messrs Paragon Holdings, RIMBA, and Actis Group for their entrepreneurship, commitment and growing confidence in the Lagos and Nigerian economy.
The Governor added that the Ikeja Shopping Mall will also be boosted with a market of 15000 civil servants who will patronize it.
He recalled that sometimes in 2008, he led a business delegation to London and one of the institutions he met was the Actis Group, stating that he discussed possibilities of investment collaboration in three areas namely increased power generation in Ijora Power Station to power at least 250,000 homes (b) Intra-City Rail Development and (c) a new city mall with the group then.
He said while Ijora has not happened because of the absence of deregulation of the regulatory environment, the construction of the intra-city rail is now a reality with the development of the Blue Line along the Lagos-Badagry corridor and everyone is gathered to witness the formal opening of the mall.
Speaking earlier, the head of West Africa of Actis, Mrs Ngozi Edozien, said the Ikeja Mall seals Actis's reputation as the West African investor of choice, adding that its local team in Lagos has unrivalled access to investment opportunities in real estate, financial services, industrials and consumer businesses and a network that reaches across the region.
She added that Actis as a private leading equity investor is not just keen about the returns but is always looking forward to building great institutions by looking forward to continuing its world acclaimed shopping experience in Nigeria.
Also speaking, the Actis Real Estate Director, Mr Michael Chu'di Ejekam said the new mall is a retail revolution which demonstrates Actis' proven track record of delivering quality real estate for Nigeria.
He added that the Ikeja Shopping Mall represents a world class development that would transform Alausa and Ikeja, adding that it opens the space for Nigerians to work and relax and follow in the footsteps of Actis successful development of The Palms.
In her address, the Managing Director of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mrs Sola David-Borha commended the Lagos State Governor for providing the enabling environment for businesses and investors to thrive in Lagos State.
She said the financing of the project which is for a seven years tenor represents a demonstration of the confidence of Stanbic IBTC in the Nigerian economy and would definitely not be the last of such projects to be financed by Stanbic IBTC for Actis.
In an interview with newsmen after the commissioning, the General Manager of Shoprite Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited, Mr Anton Wagenaar said Shoprite in Ikeja has employed about 300 Nigerians while in total it has provided jobs to over 1000 people in Nigeria with its outlets in Enugu, the Palms and Adeniran Ogunsanya.
He said Shoprite gave a commitment to the Federal Government and Lagos State that it will promote local industry, explaining that only 24percent of what Shoprite sells is imported.
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer of Broll Nigeria who are managers of the Mall, Mrs Erejuwa Gbadebo reechoed the views of Governor Fashola that there used to exist retail stores like Kingsway, Leventis and UTC and later day retail stores like Falomo Shopping Complex, Surulere Shopping Complex and Tejuosho, but because the enabling environment for them to thrive went and later came back, it gave rise to new outfits like The Palms, Silverbird Galleria, E- Centre and the new Ikeja City Mall.
Noting that the development is good for the economy of Lagos, especially the small businesses, she said some of the local brands that started business at the Palms like Ruff and Tumble is already transforming to an international brand as it has opened outlets in Lagos, Abuja and now Ikeja, adding that the same goes for the people the local firms employ and the supply chain they have.
She added that the Ikeja Mall is a place where people can safely park their cars, shop for different items including groceries, dresses and accessories, stating that even for those without a car there is easy access to public transportation and cabs.
The Property Manager noted that before the opening of the Ikeja Mall, it was all about a uni-directional traffic with everyone moving to The Palms in Lagos for shopping and back, stating that with the new Mall, there are enough people in Opebi, Allen Avenue, Magodo, Ogudu and its environs who can conveniently patronize the Ikeja outlet as well as enough people on the Island to service the Mall at The Palms.
Speaking on the employment opportunities being provided by her organization, she explained that Broll Nigeria is like a hub with activities which also facilitate the creation of jobs in several other sectors like leasing, cleaning and security organisations
She explained that the Mall would also provide a formalized setting for government to collect its different forms of taxes such as Value Added Tax, Pay As You Earn Tax and the Withholding Taxes.
The Ikeja Mall, she said, also provides a unique opportunity for companies focusing on Nigerian made goods like Coca Cola, Indomie Noodles and Omo to sell their products.
The event was attended by the Deputy Governor, Hon Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, some members of the State Executive Council, bank executives and top players in the corporate world as well shoppers who were already shopping around the new Mall.