Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday, 5th November, 2015, said the agribusiness sector remains one of the most viable areas that the Federal as well as State Governments must begin to pay serious attention to boost its revenue generation in the wake of dwindling oil prices.
Governor Ambode who spoke at the 4th European Union-Nigeria Business Forum 2015 holding at the Eko Hotels and Suites said the harsh times in the oil sector and its attendant impact on government revenue makes it imperative to look inward for creative ways of growing the economy of the country and boosting gross domestic product.
To this end, he said the agricultural sector serves as a ready alternative source of revenue generation not only to Government but also to individuals and private organizations through the various Agro allied value chains.
He commended the organisers for the theme of this year’s forum, “Unlocking Opportunities for Diversification”, saying it was apt as it would afford participants focus on addressing the obstacles to the effective development of the agricultural value chain.
“The EU’s relationship with Nigeria is significant not only because Europe remains the top destination for Nigeria’s oil and non-oil exports, but also because the region accounts for nearly one-third of Nigeria’s total trade. The statistics speak for themselves”, he said.
Governor Ambode said the state government on its part, recognizes the importance of the Agricultural sector in wealth and job creation as well as in growing the economy of the State and has thus made the sector one of its cardinal programmes.
He assured that the his administration will continue to build on the policies put in place by the previous administration to enhance rapid development in the sector, adding that so far, the government has energized the Agriculture Land Holding Authority (ALHA), to make more land readily available for Agricultural development.
Governor Ambode also urged prospective investors to take advantage of the wetland environment as well as a 1,500 hectares reserve of tropical hard woods to invest in water hyacinth recycling, fisheries and fish farm estate, arable crop estates, rice processing mill, livestock resources, forestry, agricultural equipment and human capacity development in Agriculture.
He however said that for the sector to achieve its full potentials, the task could not be left to the government alone, stressing that it would require private sector capital, entrepreneurial approach, innovativeness and managerial efficiency as well as the critical role of international partners and investors into the sector.
“Furthermore, in recognition of the need to create an enabling environment and enhance the ease of doing business in Lagos State we have established the Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment (also called Lagos Global) directly under my office.
“Lagos Global is a one-stop shop designed to ensure that whatever information, assistance, conditions, etc may be required by investors from the state government towards facilitating their investment in the State are provided swiftly and expeditiously, and in an environment devoid of bureaucratic bottlenecks”, he said.
Governor Ambode also said that efforts have been intensified towards the completion of the 27-km Blue Line Light Rail Transit System, from Okokomaiko to Marina, expressing optimism on completion, it would foster greater economic and social integration within West Africa sub region.
He said his administration is also paying serious attention to the security and judicial sectors that would ensure the safety of investors and their investments as well as swift response to business related disputes.