Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Friday, 11th April, 2014, formally commissioned the Eko Signature, a part of the Eko Hotels and Suites in Victoria Island, with an assertion that the new outfit represents a vote of confidence in the policies and the programme that the state government has implemented towards ensuring that businesses thrive.
The Governor who spoke with journalists after the commissioning ceremony said it represents another addition to the footprint of increasing investment in Lagos that is growing the economy of the state in particular and the country in general.
“From my part, it represents the vote of confidence in the policies and the programmes that the government in the state has implemented towards ensuring that businesses thrive here, polices of efficiency, service delivery, access to justice, protection of citizens rights, proprietary and personal and I think that security of life and property.
“We just concluded an economic summit yesterday focusing on power which would be defining for business and help to reduce operating cost and therefore allow for even bigger scope of investment and commitment from monies freed up as a result of expectations that at a very short period, public power would be more sufficient and on a reliable basis”, he emphasised.
He explained that as a deliberate policy, the state created for the first time a Ministry of Tourism because of its belief that it is a sector that has not been fully and appropriately measured and its potentials have not really come on stream.
“As the transport assets improves, tourism is all about destination, if you can’t get there is no tourism so as the transport assets that we are building road, rail and ferry increase in sufficient quantity, we would see the full impact of these but also as a government we are helping to harmonise the payment of operational cost, levies, business taxes in a way that it is easy and conducive for businesses.
“The message that is coming to me is that the rates are reasonable but the administrative processes for paying them are proving some challenge. We have harmonized that as a government”, Fashola stated
The Governor noted that the new hotel is a kind of investment that creates cascading opportunities for not only people who would be directly employed there but people whose businesses would be defined by what happens there.
He added that people who supply their goods, people who supply their drinks, people who bring customers there, the taxi drivers, operators of transport system, the people who supply the beddings and the people who will do the maintenance and people who would fit all the appliances are also involved in a positive spin-off of the value chain engendered by the new 5-Star Suites.
As part of the overall objective of improving the business environment, the Governor also informed that he meets the leaders of the private sector every six months to get a feedback on what are the issues that are constraining the growth and efficiency of their businesses and every six months he comes back to report to them which of the issues they raised at the last meeting have been resolved.
Still speaking on the just concluded economic summit, the Governor said a total of 142 resolutions have been passed over the last 14 years of the life of the summit and have all been resolved except for about 15.
While responding to a question about the recent resizing of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Fashola said with the resizing of the non-oil GDP, Lagos was well over 30 percent before the rebasing and that he has not seen the details of the new figures state by state but by next week, when a state by state and sector by sector impact would have been released.
“For us clearly the future medium term and future economy of Lagos will be defined in a substantial way by tourism as it would be defined by technology and of course education and continuous development of our human capital”, he added.
He maintained that the new investment being commissioned could not have happened without the appropriate government policies which included the creation of a ministry of tourism, enunciation of the right policies that engenders confidence in investors that in spite of what they have there is confidence that they can increase their businesses by building and expanding as well as investing more.
“This is an investment that shows that our regulation is okay. This is partnership that works. There is opportunity for economic exchange and a whole value chain while Lagos is increasingly becoming the destination for real business”, he added.
Speaking earlier, the Managing director of Eko Hotels, Mr Ghasan Faddoul said the signature hotel attests to the leadership of the Eko Hotels Group as the heartbeat of hospitality not only in Lagos but in Nigeria.
He said the project also sets a benchmark for many other projects in Lagos State which is a welcome development to the groups which has provided jobs to several Nigerians in its hotels equipped with state of the art facilities.