•As Governor Meets Business Leaders at 7th Corporate Assembly
• ‘We’ve Fulfilled All Suggestions on Regulatory Interventions’
Lagos State Government will be delivering a new hub of commerce at Cappa in Oshodi area to provide subsidised workspaces for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) operating in the State.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Thursday, disclosed that the construction of the Cappa hub would be completed in the first quarter of next year and will accommodate thousands of MSMEs operating without workstations. The intervention, the Governor said, becomes necessary to strengthen thriving small-scale businesses and draw down their expenses.
Sanwo-Olu announced the development at the 7th Lagos Corporate Assembly held at the State House in Alausa where the Governor met with members of the Organised Private Sector to chart a new course for the growth of the State’s economy.
Their conversation was centred around reviewing the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on businesses and resolutions implemented to further improve Ease of Doing Business, thereby making the State’s economy resilient.
The yearly event is a platform on which the State Government and members of the private sector jointly address regulatory issues hampering smooth running of business activities in Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu, who described MSMEs as “the engine room” of growth, said the State’s economy had continued to climb up because of the resilience of small and medium businesses. The Governor said it was time the Government leveraged the growth opportunities offered by the MSMEs to generate more jobs and revenue by expanding the workspace for operators to co-create and sustain their investments.
He said: “The disruption occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the need to build a more stable and resilient economy through the implementation of sustainable economic policies and proactive initiatives that guarantee a safe business environment. Small and medium enterprises have played significant roles in our economic growth and we will continue to give them the necessary support so that they can thrive and contribute their quota to the development of Lagos.
“We acknowledge that the MSME hub we have in Ikeja has been working fine; but it is oversubscribed and we are looking beyond that. We are currently building another hub in Cappa around Oshodi and I assure all micro, small and medium business operators that the new hub will be commissioned in the first quarter of next year. We are also looking for space in Somolu, Yaba and Obalende where we will replicate the kind of hub we have in Ikeja.”
Aside expanding the workstation for micro, small and medium-sized businesses, the Governor said there would be intervention in the areas of off-grid power, business mentoring, FinTech assistance and fast Internet connectivity. The intervention, he said, will stimulate more growth and generate young employment for the youth.
Sanwo-Olu told members of the business community that his administration had resolved all issues raised during last year’s edition, sharing some of the progress with the investors.
He said the State Government had implemented the Harmonised Inspection Workplaces Policy suggested at the Assembly last year, which grouped together the complementary regulatory activities of Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) at business premises.
He said: “You raised the issue of incentives and palliatives to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on your businesses. We responded by granting businesses a 25 per cent discount on early payment of Land Use Charge, and offered waiver on three-year penalty covering Years 2017, 2018 and 2019 on Land Use Charge default.
“We have also addressed your concerns about the activities of the Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS) officers and their approach to traffic law enforcement by adopting Automatic Number Plate Recognition Cameras while we have stepped up our enlightenment campaigns on road safety and traffic laws.
“One of our most significant achievements of the sixth edition of the Lagos Corporate Assembly is our investment of N1bn seed money in the tourism sector to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the tourism and hospitality businesses.”
The Governor pledged to address new resolutions raised by members of the organised private sector and promised that there would be improvement before their next meeting.
Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Dr. Lola Akande, said the Sanwo-Olu administration, since inception, had sustained investment in the provision of infrastructure across major sectors identified in the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda, with potential to grow the annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the State.
Akande said Sanwo-Olu introduced various stimulus packages and incentives to further enhance economic growth, including the repeal of the 2018 Law on Land Use Charge which granted concessions and incentives on applicable charges, and the refund of the five per cent initial loan deposit by MSMEs to all customers who completed their loan repayment with Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF).
She noted that the ongoing installation of 6,000 kilometres fibre optic cables across the State would assist businesses whose operations are dependent on efficient Internet services, adding that the request of waivers by the private sector on water abstraction charges had cut the cost of permits by 75 per cent and granted five-year arrears waiver.
“At a time when the pandemic is ravaging the world, discussions on the establishment of a new type of strategic partnership, more dialogue and exchanges between Government and the Organized Private Sector (OPS) will revitalise businesses in the state,” Akande said.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Sustainable Development Goals and Investment (SDG&I), Mrs. Solape Hammond, said all growth predictions about Lagos were becoming the reality daily, which, she said, explained the reason the Sanwo-Olu administration had sustained investment in infrastructure in specific areas.
She said the State Government had implemented 91 per cent of the 109 resolutions passed at the Lagos Economic Summit (Ehingbeti), an indication the State remained on the right track to address its challenges.
President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, praised the Governor for accelerating the implementation of previous resolutions, stressing that the forum recognised the role being played by the private sector in the development of Lagos.
She urged the State Government to continue to promote policies that would support job creation in specific growth areas.
Vice President of Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN), Chief John Aluya, pointed out that 2020 ended with a downturn of capacity utilisation across industrial zones of the State due to COVID-19. He, however, praised Sanwo-Olu for the effort to reduce the effects of the pandemic on businesses and workers in the manufacturing sector.
STATE GOVERNMENT ON THE PLIGHT OF LAGOS STATE CONTRIBUTORY RETIREES AND PENSIONERS
LAGOS STATE SETS THE PACE ON PENSION PAYMENTS IN NIGERIA
The administration of Mr. Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu is one poised to set a new record in the payment of accrued rights to its retirees as well as timely and prompt monthly pension contribution of over 100,000 state employees.
This fact is known and well established as there is no state of the Federation with such accomplishment. Since the commencement of this administration in 2019, a total number of 9,128 retirees have been paid an accrued rights of over N34 Billion. It is worthy to note that accrued rights of a minimum of N1 billion monthly is also paid to the State retirees’ Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs). N1.5 billion was paid into the RSAs of 421 State retirees on 3rd December 2021. The status report on the Contributory Pension Scheme, quarterly published by the National Pension Commission affirms that the State’s pension board is well structured and level of implementation of the Scheme is above average. The State operates a structured payment method in clearing its pension obligation and as such, no one is required to disrupt the system.
Mr. Governor’s administration is one keen on ensuring that retirees have access to their Retirement Savings Accounts (RSA) as soon as they retiree as the government is positioned to clear all pension obligations.
Mr. Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu is a passionate man who operates an open door policy and prioritizes the welfare of the state’s senior citizens. His effort was recognized by the National Union of Pensioners who conferred the award of “Excellence and Greater Commitment to Pensioners’ Welfare”, on him at its 11th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference held at NAF Conference Centre, Abuja recently.
The National Union of Pensioners (NUP) is the only recognized association by law and the Government regularly updates the union on the various programs been undertaken by the state in ensuring that retirement is gratifying for its members.
However, it has been brought to our attention of the several antics in the newspapers and social media of a group called Association of Retirees and PFA Pensioners, this group is not recognized by the State Government and they do not have the legal right to represent the retirees and due to past antecedents, they should be discouraged in acting in such capacity. It was set-up by a retired teacher in the State, one Mr. Michael Omisande and whose accrued benefits have been paid over two (2) years ago without any intervention by another one. His antecedents in misleading unsuspecting retirees is renowned
Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC), the State’s Agency responsible for pension administration matters had previously reported this group to the Police in 2019 after which Mr. Omisande and his executives were summoned to appear at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) on issues bordering on forcefully obtaining money from unsuspecting retirees with the promise of facilitating the payment of their accrued rights and the group signed a commitment to desist from such act.
‘Our administration has strengthened ties among arms of govt’ – Oyetola
…pledges to continue to support Judiciary in Osun to perform its role
… Oyetola’s Administration has been very supportive to our cause – CJ, Adepele Ojo
The Governor of Osun, Adegboyega Oyetola, on Tuesday, said his Administration had strengthened the fundamental ties between the three arms of government as reflected in the peaceful cohesion existing in the State.
He said the Administration has given the other arms of government a pride of place to operate without being internally or externally influenced, saying they occupied a conspicuous place in the ranking of Osun as the most peaceful State in Nigeria.
The Governor pledged to continuously strengthen independence of the judiciary, noting that the right mechanisms had been put in place for that arm of government to perform its role as the hope of the common man.
This is even as the Chief Judge of Osun, Justice Oyebola Adepele Ojo, noted that the Administration of Governor Oyetola holds the judiciary in high esteem as evidenced in his continuous support and commitment to strengthen the administration of justice and guarantee the welfare and well-being of judicial officers.
Governor Oyetola spoke during the Special Religious Services and Inspection of Guard of Honour at the Grand Finale marking the beginning of 2021-2022 Legal Year of Osun State Judiciary, at State High Court, Osogbo.
Oyetola who had earlier identified with the members of the judiciary at the Osogbo Central Mosque and Osogbo Anglican Church Cathedral for inter-denominational prayer sessions, acknowledged the harmonious and cordial relationship between the three arms of government in the State.
According to him, the Osun Judiciary has demonstrated on all fronts that it is on the side of the people at all times and it is incumbent on the government to allow the testimony to persist.
The Governor who noted that the judiciary had been part of the success story of his Administration, said “we are lucky in Osun for having harmonious and cordial relationship between the three arms of government as the existing symbiotic relationship has yielded positive impacts and unprecedented transformation in the last three years of our Administration.”
He implored members of the judiciary to continue to dispense justice and uphold the ethics of their profession.
“I therefore urge you to sustain this confidence by always allowing the fear of God and truth to be cardinal considerations in the dispensation of justice.
“You must also ensure that you sustain professionalism and the ethics of your profession that have stood you out as the friend of the common man and the hope of the people in a democracy.
“Our Administration holds the Judiciary in high esteem. We shall always ensure that the right mechanisms are put in place to ensure its independence at all times so that it can perform its role as the hope of the common man and the people.
“The three arms of Government have been remarkably united in serving the people without compromising their independence and distinctive roles under our Administration.
“The Judiciary occupies a conspicuous place in the ranking and recognition of Osun as the most peaceful State in Nigeria in view of its commitment to ensuring that justice is served in all situations and at all times. I thank the Officers in the Temple of Justice for this display of professionalism and patriotism,” Oyetola said.
He said his Administration has been working hard to ensure social inclusion and sustain peace hence the need to institutionalise inclusive and participatory governance.
Oyetola stated further: “The ultimate goal of instituting these laudable objectives is the delivery of a stronger, more prosperous and better Osun. This is only achievable in an atmosphere of peace.
“We invite the Judiciary to continue to complement our efforts by dispensing justice in a manner that will not only ensure peace but make the people to believe in and trust government.
“As you have wisely committed this Legal Year into the hands of God, I have confidence in the Almighty that it shall be a peaceful, eventful and successful year and a prosperous and rewarding one for Osun.”
In her remarks, the Chief Judge of Osun, Hon. Justice Oyebola Adepele Ojo, expressed gratitude to Governor Oyetola for giving the judiciary the pride of place to operate without interference or hitches.
Justice Ojo lauded the Administration of Governor Oyetola for continually allowing mutually-beneficial relationship between the three arms of government, this, she said had helped to retain and sustain the relative peace existing in the State.
She appreciated the Governor for always coming to their aid, saying this had gone a long way to ensure smooth dispensation of justice at all levels.
“The relationship between the Osun State Judiciary and other arms of government remains ever cordial with mutual respect for each other. We must commend Mr. Governor for his good sense of leadership duty and for his prompt response to issues affecting the Judiciary as occasions call for them.
“We are equally grateful to Mr. Governor for his unending love for Osun State Judiciary and we know that with Your Excellency’s support, this new legal year will be best ever in our history,” she added.
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