Lagos Conscious Of Its Responsibility To The Private Sector - Fashola
…As Governor hosts members of Apapa, Ikeja M.A.N
Apr 12, 2012 - Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Thursday hosted members of the Ikeja and Apapa branches of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on a courtesy visit, assuring that the state is not disconnected from its responsibility to the private sector.
Governor Fashola, who had an interactive session with the members of the Association at Lagos House, Ikeja, said government has become more concerned about what it can do to improve the environment in which the manufacturers operate.
The Governor said it is the intention of the Government to ensure that all members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria are incorporated into the Lagos Corporate Assembly so that everyone could meet under one house and chart the way forward together.
He said there are pre-eminent possibilities for Nigeria if the right things are done that will allow her become the economic driver of the Continent, stating that Lagos holds the key in that regard.
According to Governor Fashola "This partly explains why the forthcoming Lagos Economic Summit tagged Ehingbeti 2012, will focus on Power, Agriculture and Agro Allied industry, Transportation and Housing because the there is no way the nation can industrialise without an agro base."
Noting that there are challenges facing manufacturers in Apapa Governor Fashola pleaded the commitment of his administration to come over and solve the problems.
The Governor, who also reacted to a complaint about the state of the Universal Steel Road in Ogba, said the administration is deliberating on taking an action on the road noting that stakeholders must take ownership of infrastructural assets provided around them as wrong use often contribute to the premature damage of some roads.
He said in the last three months, the state has been detailing its officials to go round all its industrial estates to see how they are faring, adding that at the end of the note taking exercise, the ministerial heads would visit the places.
He reiterated that the government is connected to the manufacturers in more ways than they think of, adding that government believes that if the manufacturers prosper, government would have some relief.
On the issue of high taxes raised by the members of MAN, Governor Fashola explained that company taxes are not paid to the states as it is only the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) that is collected by the State.
He also explained that Local Governments, are creations of the constitution and therefore have the powers to levy taxes.
He said as a proactive measure the government published a list of approved levies and taxes collectable by all Local Governments to serve as a guide, adding that his administration expects the MAN members to stand up and resist any attempt to levy any illegal collection on them.
Noting that the phone numbers and email addresses of all members of his administration are in the public domain to lodge complaints when things go wrong. Governor Fashola urged the MAN members not to compromise by agreeing to cooperate with Local Government officials engaging in illegalities.
On complaints about multiple inspection from agencies of the State Government, the Governor directed that the issue be taken up by the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, while the Economic Planning and Budget Commissioner should also see ways of including it in the agenda of the Ways and Means Committee on Service delivery.
The Governor, who also spoke on state of the roads urged manufacturers to realize that it is a perishing asset which will always get bad irrespective of the number of years it lasts.
He, however, said while the state has a commitment to always repair its roads, manufacturing concerns should take more than a passing interest in the roads because they are part of the assets of the commonwealth.
Governor Fashola said going by the volume of goods that move on Lagos roads, it is still a miracle that Lagos traffic is still moving and urged all concerned stakeholders level to impress it upon the Federal Government that without a development of rail transportation, the much sought industrialization will remain a mirage.
The Governor said there are several rail lines such as the one from Abeokuta to the Bar Beach and the one from Abeokuta to Agege which were built by the colonialists and are still lying fallow but can be revived and deployed for conveying fuel that are being ferried across the roads which often cause road mishaps.
He added that Lagos State has conducted audit of some of the industrial estates to provide power that will not be on the national grid but that a commitment must come from the manufacturers that if government provides a power service they will subscribe and pay.
He said specifically, findings have shown that over three Billion Naira is spent yearly on diesel purchases and that so many of the generators being deployed to use are over capacitated and underutilized.
On land issue, the Governor stated that government is doing everything to improve the process of getting land and is in the process of introducing a new Certificate of Occupancy that will be difficult to forge.
He reiterated that as he promised during the campaigns for office in 2007, he has provided a land data base through the titling and digital mapping of every property in Lagos State.
The Governor said part of the plan of the government is to create a possibility for the process to be technology driven such that people can search for land information, confirm ownership from the comfort of their offices and pay electronically for same.
On the issue of allowing desptach riders of manufacturing companies to ply restricted routes, the Governor said the applicable laws on road traffic determines what categories of motorcycles can ply the roads and that the question that has always agitated his mind is: "why should it be by motorcycles that dispatches must be made and not by some other means".
Also speaking, the State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs Sola Oworu said the Ministry is compiling a data base of roads to be worked on in Anthony, Isolo, Ilupeju, Amuwo and Kirikiri Industrial estates and that dates would be given when the Governor would visit some of the estates.
On complaints of high fees being charged by the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), the Commissioner said the issue would be revisited just as she said the issue of overlapping functions of Health agencies in the State undertaking health inspections would be harmonized.
On the Lekki Free Trade Zone, Mrs Oworu stated that the policy of government on the zone is regulated by the Export Processing Zone Act adding that as at now the zone is up and running as an agreement for solar power in some parts of the zone would soon be signed.
Also shedding light on some of the issues raised, the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr Obafemi Hamzat said a total of 178 roads have been awarded in 2012, stating that the Surulere Industrial Road which was complained about has been awarded but delayed due to drainage issues.
He said for the Happy Home Avenue which was complained of, investigation has shown that the road was recently reconstructed but was damaged due to the parking of heavy duty vehicles and deposit of diesel on the road by the parked trailers.
While speaking the Chief Executive of the State Board for Technical and Vocational studies, Engineer Olawunmi Gasper said often manufacturing concerns have always complained of not having the requisite skills from young trainees but that several times when inputs have been sought from MAN on what would suit their needs they don't come forward.
He informed that the State would soon launch a School Leavers Modern Apprenticeship Programme which would provide opportunities for young boys to have two days training in the classroom and three days in the work environment to help them develop a critical mass of youth that would solve the problems of the nation.
Engineer Gasper said the second part of the programme which is billed to be launched by the Governor is the Graduate Vocational Training Programme, adding that currently agencies like the MTN, and Samsung have provided workshop to train young people while Nigerdock has been partnering the State Government on developing young boys in welding and fabrication.
Speaking earlier, the chairman of the Ikeja branch of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Rev Isaac Ade Agoye who led the team commended Governor Fashola on his success in the 2011 elections, saying his landslide victory is an attestation to the hardwork he has brought to governance in Lagos State.
He commended the performance of the State Government in the field of security, traffic control, road maintenance, beautification and also put on record the level of understanding reached by the State Government and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria on one hand and the Organised Private Sector in Lagos State.
He commended the State Government for acceding to the request of MAN for the publication of a harmonized single list of collectable taxes and levies payable to Local Governments and the State and also listed a number of areas where the association is still expecting the state Government to act to act towards making the atmosphere congenial for doing business in Lagos State.
Prominent among those who were present during the visit were some members of the State Executive Council including the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Ben Akabueze, Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Town Planner Toyin Ayinde and Special Adviser to the Governor on Revenue and Taxation, Mr Abimbola Shodipo and members of the Organised Private Sectors from both the Ikeja and Apapa branches of MAN.