Renowned economist and financial expert, Professor Pat Utomi, at the weekend, said Lagos State was a crucial catalyst if Nigeria’s economy was to witness a turn-around for the better.
Utomi made this declaration while speaking at the Executive/Legislative retreat for members of the State Executive Council and lawmakers from the Senate, House of Representatives, as well as the House of Assembly, saying there were a lot of lessons to be learnt from the Lagos economy.
According to him, the state economy was largely driven by its huge investment in infrastructure, vibrant tax collection strategy and an enabling environment for businessses to thrive with less dependence on oil revenue.
Utomi, in his paper presentation, cited an example of when Comrade Adams Oshiomhole emerged as the governor of Edo State and alluded to the fact that he needed to learn how Lagos was getting it right and then replicate same in Edo.
“The first thing he (Oshiomhole) did was to say he needed to learn how Lagos was getting it right. And he came over to Lagos with his core team to understudy the Lagos developmental model. And we can see how that worked well in Edo,” Utomi said.
He said several other states had also followed suit in emulating how the tax and IGR template worked in Lagos and how the public service was structured in a way that there was good coordination.
Utomi said the Lagos example should be prescribed for other states and for Nigeria as a whole, contending that the momentum would be good for the country, just as he canvassed for the South-West states to scale up its economic integration.
“This is why I have always advocated for a Lagos-Ibadan megalopolis. Lagos is already a mega city by virtue of its population, but a deliberate economic integration with other South-West states can produce even better results.
Meanwhile, Lagos State government said it would commence total upgrade of schools in the state, especially in the slum areas, as well as evolve a robust youth and senior citizens’ policy by January 2017.
It said there was need to upgrade the quality of schools through training and re-training of teachers, as well as improving the infrastructure.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the retreat and read by Senator representing Lagos West Senatorial District, Olamilekan Solomon Adeola, the government said participants were unanimous in their resolution to improve the standard of education across the state, particularly in slum areas.
Adeola said participants also resolved to evolve a robust youth policy that would include active private sector partnership and also fast-track the development of a senior citizens’ policy, both of which would be implemented from January 2017.
He said participants also recognised the role of government as an ‘enabler’ and to create frameworks and strategies to further accelerate the growth of the state’s economy.