- Says FG, Lagos alliance has delivered dividends of democracy
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the newly inaugurated Lekki Deep Sea Port and the Imota Rice Mill are projected to create more than 300,000 direct and indirect jobs, and generate economic benefits valued at well over $200 billion.
The President spoke at a State Dinner in his honour on Monday night during his two-day official visit to Lagos State to commission landmark infrastructure projects undertaken by the State Government and the private sector, MRS Holdings Limited.
The President said these labour-intensive projects, which will contribute to job creation in the country, fit well to his administration’s plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
He expressed delight that the alignment between Lagos State and the Federal Government, since 2015, has more than delivered on the dividends of democracy for the good people of the state.
‘‘These projects commissioned today would not have happened without close collaboration between the Federal and Lagos State Governments, and the involvement of the private sector as well.
‘‘Indeed, our commitment to unleashing the full potential of Nigeria’s private sector should never be in doubt. Through various policies, legislation and executive orders, we have worked very hard to facilitate private enterprise in Nigeria.
‘‘The results of this can be seen in the many thriving businesses across Lagos State, in manufacturing, oil and gas, creative industries, services, digital economy and many more, creating tens of thousands of jobs and economic opportunities for Nigerians.
‘‘I have no doubt whatsoever that posterity will be kind to us on account of these landmark projects and successes.’’
President Buhari also listed the achievements of the Federal Government and support to Lagos State during his two terms in office, promising to work with unwavering vigour and commitment to fulfill the promises made to Nigerians, until the end of his administration.
‘I would like to start by thanking the Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the good people of Lagos, for the colourful reception that my team and I received today on our arrival in the state.
‘‘Earlier today, it was my pleasure to commission the Lekki Deep Sea Port, and the Imota Rice Mill, two projects that are very much in line with our administration’s vision of economic diversification and food security.
‘‘The Lekki Deep Sea Port is driven by my vision to bequeath a legacy of poverty elimination through provision of job-creating infrastructure. I placed all matters related to the operationalization of Lekki Deep Seaport on top priority by giving unalloyed backing to the Nigerian Ports Authority and its supervising ministry, the Federal Ministry of Transportation.
‘‘With the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement which we are signatory, the distinctive features of Lekki Deep Seaport such as full automation which positions it for quick cargo and vessel turn around will greatly enhance the competitiveness of Nigeria’s exports especially agro-allied products in the international marketplace, grow local jobs, increase FOREX inflow and position Nigeria to maximize the opportunities inherent in the AfCFTA Agreement.’’
The President described Bestaf Lubricant at MRS Holdings Company Limited, Apapa, earlier commissioned by him as a testament to provision of enabling environment for private sector businesses to thrive.
He noted that the 200m litre lubricant plant, which covers the whole value chain of lubricants and the first of its kind in West Africa, would prevent the importation of sub-standard products, stop capital flight, and contribute to generation of foreign exchange for the country, through products exports.
‘‘This plant will go a long way in ensuring that the plants and machinery which are used in Nigeria, have extended lifetime from the use of high-quality lubricants,’’ he said.
President Buhari, who is also scheduled to inaugurate the historic first Phase of the Blue Line of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit and the John Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History on Tuesday, praised Lagos for maintaining its status as Nigeria’s economic nerve center and leading subnational economy in Africa.
‘‘It is also a place with which I am very familiar, having lived and served here for long periods during my military career.
‘‘I am therefore no stranger to the rich culture and remarkable hospitality for which Lagos and its people are famous. It is therefore always a pleasure for me to return to Lagos, and to see the remarkable changes taking place constantly.’’
Highlighting the Federal Government’s support to the growth and development of Lagos State, under his watch, the President said:
‘‘We have approved important fiscal waivers required to deliver on key infrastructure projects, including customs duties for BRT Buses, LAG-RIDE vehicles, as well as Rolling Stock for the Blue and Red Rail Lines.
‘‘Lagos was one of the pioneer beneficiaries of our Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme, which has transformed the Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki Expressway, and will deliver a brand-new access road to the new Lekki Deep Sea Port.
‘‘Lagos has benefited from our Sukuk Bond projects – the nearby Ahmadu Bello Way being one of the major roads reconstructed using Sukuk funding.’’
In addition, the President said the Federal Government allocated the Right of Way of the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Railway Line, for use by the Lagos Mass Rail Transit’s Red Line, while also extending substantial financial support to the state at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
On other notable strides of this administration, the President said the Federal Government has handed over the International Airport Road to the Lagos State Government, for reconstruction while the ongoing redevelopment of the National Theatre, Iganmu is in partnership with Lagos State Government.
‘‘We have been very clear that our administration is one that will support and work with State Governments to achieve our mutually-held goal of laying a sustainable foundation for lasting progress and development in Nigeria.’’
The President commended Governor Sanwo-Olu for the impressive projects and keeping the electoral promises made to Lagosians.
‘‘You have been a true Ambassador of the progressive politics that defines our party, and which has been the guiding vision of my administration, from Day 1.
‘‘I also acknowledge the excellent work that you did, working closely with the Federal Government and other stakeholders, to protect Lagos State from the worst effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘‘There is so much for us to be proud of, that we have worked hand-in-hand to achieve. Equally, there is still so much ahead for us to collaborate on,’’ he said.