2016 Ministerial Press Briefing by Prof. Ademola Abass, Special Adviser, Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment
Posted on May 19th, 2016
YEAR 2016 MINISTERIAL PRESS BRIEFING DELIVERED IN COMMEMORATION OF 1ST YEAR IN OFFICE OF HIS EXCELLENCY, MR. AKINWUNMI AMBODE, GOVERNOR OF LAGOS STATE, BY PROF. ADEMOLA ABASS, SPECIAL ADVISER, OFFICE OF OVERSEAS AFFAIRS AND INVESTMENT ON THURSDAY 19TH MAY, 2016 AT BAGAUDA KALTHO PRESS CENTRE, ALAUSA, IKEJA
Lagos State: Building the Ultimate Investment Destination.
I am delighted to address members of the media through this initiative of the Lagos State Government, which demonstrates our commitment towards running a transparent and inclusive government.
His Excellency the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, upon assumption of office on 29 May 2015, established the Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment, also known as Lagos Global. That Lagos Global was one of the very first acts of the Governor testifies to the high premium this administration places on driving investment into Lagos State both from within and from outside Nigeria.
The emergence of Lagos Global at a time when the global economy had just commenced a descent and when countries that depend on monolithic economies, especially oil, were bracing for a rough weather, is quite telling.
Not only did the creation of Lagos Global at the inception of this government foretell our administration’s policy direction as regards economic growth, the outfit has of a fact come to embody the best traditions of effective governance and strategic thinking in the public sector.
The battle to attract as much of the scarce global resources as possible by various countries has indeed become very existential. With a population in excess of 20 million, an exponential urbanization rate and an unparalleled urban-to-city migration with infrastructure stretched to breaking points, it was expedient, even inevitably pragmatic that as a government we prioritize diversification of Lagos economy and attract all the investment we can get into the State.
VISION AND MISSION
The vision of Lagos Global is simply to make Lagos the most desirable investment destination in the world. Our mission is to enhance the ease of doing business in Lagos State.
Our desire to enhance the ease of doing business in Lagos State is neither hortatory nor rhetorical. Lagos is uniquely placed to enhance the perception and acceptability, so to speak, of our dear nation in the global ranking of how we do business. The current World Bank Index on Ease of Doing Business ranks Nigeria as number 169 out of a total 189. What is more troubling is that in assessing the ease of doing business in Nigeria, Lagos State alone constitutes 77% of the determining vectors.
Lagos Global has the enviable mandate of promoting investment into Lagos State as well as promoting exportation. Please permit me to use this opportunity to clarify that by investment, we mean investment that may come to the State from within Nigeria as well as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
A critical aspect of our mandate, which is less often referred, is conducting overseas affairs of Lagos State. By this epithet, it means Lagos Global is tasked with the responsibility of organizing overseas affairs of the State. Such activities include, but not limited to, when foreign dignitaries, government officials or foreign business men and women visit Lagos State, or when such people, who may be visiting the Federal Government or other states in Nigeria, desire to pay a courtesy or any other visit to Lagos State Government.
In this capacity too, Lagos Global interfaces with foreign institutions and multilateral entities, such as international organizations that have dealings with Lagos State.
A final aspect of this arm of Lagos Global’s mandate is that the office, through the instrument of the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on General Duties, issues introductory letters to Lagos State Government officials who may require visas from various embassies and high commissions for the purpose of undertaking official duties outside Nigeria.
With regard to our investment promotion mandate, we have the following responsibilities:
- Identification and promotion of domestic and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Lagos States
- Promotion of EXPORT
- Create a ‘One-Stop Shop’ for investors in Lagos State
- Enhance the ease of doing business in Lagos State
- Identification of foreign markets for goods and services
- Promotion of Inter – ECOWAS Commerce
- Enhance the global perception of Lagos State as a place to conduct business and live in
- Initiate, formulate and evaluate policies relating to the promotion of domestic and foreign investments into Lagos State
- Liaise with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Lagos State towards creating an enabling environment for doing business in the state
- Liaise with Federal MDAs in all aspects of our mandate
In its strive to grow the economy of Lagos State, our administration has identified certain areas as critical to growing the gross domestic product (GDP) of Lagos State. These are the prime areas in which we encourage and continue to attract investments.
The focused sectors have been scanned for investment opportunities with a view to providing foreign investors with an insight into these opportunities at a glance.
Investment opportunities that abound in the key sectors include but not limited to the following:
- Construction and maintenance of jetties
- Operation of ferry services
- Construction of roads
- Operation of mass transit buses and rail system
- Energy generation of 9,000MW
- Tourism development and promotion
- Harnessing waterfront potentials
- Protection and preservation of Beaches
- Convention Centers
- Hotels and Motels
- Restaurants, Casinos and Eateries
- Holiday Resorts, Amusement and Theme Parks
- Botanical and Zoological Gardens
- Plazas, Shopping Malls etc.
- Manufacturing and maintenance of Medical
- Establishment of Health Facilities (Primary Health
- Training of Health Workers
- Diagnostic Laboratories
- Pharmaceutical Services/Manufacturing
- Medical Parks
- Modern abattoirs
- Agro processing for export (machineries, processing factories etc.)
- Storage facilities
- Dairy farming
- Livestock feeds production
- Development of settlements
- Mortgage financing
- Building materials production
- Provision of decent and affordable houses
- Development of new towns
Departments and Units
Lagos Global is driven by departments and units, namely;
- Global Outreach and Partnerships
- Investment Management and Risk Analysis
- Business and Marketing Strategy
- Human Relations
- Inter-Ministerial Coordination
- Administration and Human Resources
- Public Affairs
- Internal Audit
- Planning, Research and Statistics
Streamlined Business Process/Project Proposal Template
Since inception Lagos Global has been working to ensure that investors who desire to invest in Lagos enjoy a seamless and hurdle-free experience. By streamlining its internal working processes and adopting a project proposal template to eliminate difficulties associated with multi-agency handling of investments, Lagos Global has set the stage for a first-class service delivery to investors, right from the point of initial enquiry down to the setting up and running of businesses in Lagos State.
The streamlined process, which aims at ensuring that all proposals are fully dealt with within four weeks, takes the following sequence:
The project proposal template, which was adopted as a fast track measure to ease the setting up of business in Lagos, outlines the format to be adhered to in developing the initial proposal (for concept approval) to be submitted to the Lagos Global.
This format includes an introductory part that briefly describes the project, outlines the underlying need, problem or opportunity that the project aims to address and how it will address them.
Other elements of the template are the objectives of the project, benefits of the project to Lagos state, project scope and modalities, proposed transaction structure, project stakeholders, project viability, consortium/company structure and capabilities etc.
Investment Proposals with Lagos Global
Lagos remains the choice investment destination and is vigorously pursuing measures geared towards enhancing the ease of doing business.
Since inception, investors have shown considerable interest in tapping into the investment opportunities in Lagos, and so far we have received investment propositions approximately worth of $43 billion. The state government has approved a good number of investment proposals out of the one hundred and thirty-nine (139) that are at various stages of consideration at the Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment.
The approved investment proposals cover six (6) sectors, which are environment, infrastructure, health, manufacturing, real estate and transportation.
Courtesy Calls and Investment Promotion
Being responsible for the overseas affairs of the State Government, Lagos Global has overseen dozens of requests for courtesy visits honoured by His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State by various foreign dignitaries, diplomatic and trade missions, and entrepreneurs.
Some of the courtesy visits include investors and ambassadors from Countries such as the United States of America, France, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Brazil, Italy, Belgium, Japan, South Africa, Poland, and presidents of countries including Guinea Conakry and Germany.
Lagos Global has also coordinated international engagement of the state in the following international events:
- Global Climate Change Exchange Programme for City Leaders, United States of America- 7th-9th October 2015.
- World Cities Culture Summit, London- 18th-20th November 2015.
- Commonwealth Business Forum, Malta- 24th– 26th November 2015.
- Lagos Trade and Investment Forum, London, 30th November 2015.
- African Investment Summit, London, 1st -2nd December 2015.
- C40 Climate Summit for Local Leaders, Paris – 3rd-7th December 2015.
- US Africa Business Summit, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – 1st-4th February 2016
The Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment, in performing its role as a one-stop shop for investment has the task of liaising with MDAs, particularly the focal investment MDAs, through its Inter-Ministerial Coordination Department. These MDAs are our technical partners and advisors.
In order to ensure effective collaboration with other MDAs and create a synergy in our investment activities across board, Lagos Global has established a cadre of ‘Investment Champions’ across all MDAs. Investment Champions will serve as the interface between Lagos Global and MDAs, while the MDAs serve as Sector “Experts” providing technical assistance and advisory services to Lagos Global. The investment champions, who will soon be inaugurated, will perform the following function:
- Act as investment agents in their various MDAs
- Fast track information dissemination on investment enquiries in their various MDAs
- Follow up on investors’ proposals within their MDAs
- Direct investors to the Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment through their Permanent Secretaries
- Provide prompt professional and pre and post investment services to Lagos Global as they may relate to their MDAs.
Some Activities undertaken by Lagos Global
As part of its effort to acquaint various stakeholders of its mandates, objectives and activities, Lagos Global has continued to undertake certain activities targeted at government stakeholders and the larger society. Some of these are as follows;
Sensitisation and Advocacy:
Sensitisation of Public Servants on the establishment and role of Lagos Global
- A one-day sensitization programme for all ministries, departments and agencies on the creation and mandate of the Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment was held on Thursday 17th March, 2016 at the New Banquet Hall, Governor’s Office, Lagos House, Ikeja. The purpose of the event was to further acquaint all agencies of the government with the mandates and responsibilities of the Office, in order to foster a seamless relationship between the Office and other ministries.
Formal Launch of Lagos Global
- The formal presentation of the office of Overseas Affairs and Investment was held on Thursday, March 31, 2016 at Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos. The theme of the event was “Building a Global Investment Hub”. The keynote address was given by His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, Governor of Lagos State, and Prof. Pat Utomi was the guest speaker. The event was attended by Business Executives, Diplomats, and both Foreign and Local Government Agencies.
Outcomes of the event:
- Shared Mandate and structure of Lagos Global
- Projected Lagos Global among the business world and international community
- Unveiling of website: www.lagosglobal.org
- Participants at the public launch of the office included but not limited to: Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries (LCCI), Institute of Directors, International Organisations, Media representatives, Federal Government Institutions and the Diplomatic corp.
Nigeria Ease of Doing Business Reform Validation Workshop
- The workshop organised by the Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment on Thursday April 21, 2016 was based on the 2016 World Bank Ranking on the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria. Countries are rated by the World Bank’s “Doing Business Group” based on the relative ease of doing business within their shores, using certain parameters which include:
- The ease of starting a business.
- Dealing with construction permits.
- Registering property.
- Paying taxes.
- Trading across borders.
- Getting credit and enforcing contracts.
- On this basis, Nigeria was rated 169 out of 189 countries in 2016
- Two states in Nigeria, Lagos and Kano contributed 77% and 23% respectively to this rating.
- The workshop was aimed at sensitising the Lagos Business Community on the reforms made by the Mr.Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration to enhance the ease of doing business in Lagos.
- Representing Lagos State were Commissioners for Energy and Mineral Resources, Physical and Urban Development, Commerce and Industry, Tourism, Transport, Chairman LIRS, and the Special Adviser, Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment.
- Lagos Global was able to showcase the various efforts being made by the government towards improving the ease of doing business in the state. Such efforts include, but not limited to:
- Tax Reforms – the LIRS has taken steps towards easing tax regimes in the state
- On-going reforms of permits application processes
- Vast improvement to the land registration system through the use of electronic system
- Drastically cutting down the turn-around period for proposals
- Centralizing the processing of investment proposals through the Lagos Global
The hope is that if Lagos State, being the commercial hub of Nigeria, can get it right then Nigeria stands a better chance of attracting more investments.
Dear members of the media, kindly permit me to observe that we have started with a gradual but steady journey towards ensuring that our dear state becomes the most sought-after destination for investors.
Investment opportunities abound in Lagos state. It is a fact that investment thrives best in an environment that is safe and secure and where there are robust legal and judicial systems to protect investors and investments alike.
To this end, our government has prioritized strengthening the rule of law and security sector reform. Lagos today is undoubtedly one of the safest states in Nigeria.
At this juncture, I wish to salute the vision of His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode for giving premium to investment in the state by creating the Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment as a one-stop-shop for investors.
I wish to thank the entirety of the Lagos Global team and, in particular, the Permanent Secretary, Dr Olajide Basorun for his dynamic leadership of the Lagos Global team. I wish to place also on records the salutary efforts of Mrs. Arinola Odulana, who was the inaugural permanent secretary of Lagos Global and under whose leadership the very foundation of Lagos Global was laid.
I wish to end by stating that Lagos is open for business. Please come invest in Lagos, don’t miss the train!
I thank you for listening.
Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko, lo je wa logun!
Prof. Ademola Abass
Special Adviser, Office of Overseas Affairs & Investment (Lagos Global)
|Row Labels||Count of Sector|
Table 1: Investment proposals by sector
Table 2: Status of all investment proposals considered by Lagos Global
|Count of STATUS||SECTORS|
|STATUS||Education||Energy||Environment||Health||Housing||Infrastructure||Manufacturing||Others||Real Estate||Security||Tourism||Transportation||Grand Total|