Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has assured of his administration’s commitment towards enthroning a business-friendly environment with a view to facilitating good returns on investment in the state.
The governor gave the assurance at the opening ceremony of the 35th Lagos International Trade Fair (LITF) on Friday.
He said that the effort was based on the belief in a private sector-driven economic development strategy.
Sanwo-Olu was represented by Dr Lola Akande, Commissioner, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives.
He said his administration would continue to evolve sound policies that could stand the test of time and also provide the much needed roadmap for the journey to economic recovery and prosperity.
The governor said that his administration, in furtherance of this objective, had ceaselessly pursued the implementation of reforms in critical sectors, including public service institutions and the judiciary.
He said the drive had as well led to the massive infrastructure upgrade and development of road networks across the state to ensure significant reduction in travel time.
“We are doing everything within our power as a state to secure the traditional site of the trade fair complex from the Federal Government and also the reopening of the border to increase economic activities of our dear state.
“Considering the status of the Badagry road axis as an international tourism destination and host to a number of establishments, I am happy to note the progress made on the reconstruction work which will terminate at Okokomaiko while the Federal Government takes up to Badagry.
“I wish to assure members of the business community in Lagos that we are committed to improving the business environment towards making it more attractive as investment destination of the nation.
“This annual trade fair has impacted greatly on the economy through the opportunities it has continued to provide to individuals and corporate organisations to showcase their products and services to a large population of people within this arena.
“I commend the LCCI for their doggedness, determination and commitment that have been demonstrated over the years to growing the exhibition industry even with the challenges posed by the pandemic on the global economy,” he said.
Ide John Udeagbala, President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), charged government and other stakeholders to address the plights of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).
He stressed that MSMEs required maximum support for sustained economic growth and development, noting that they formed the majority of the exhibitors and participants at the LITF.
This, Udeagbala said, was because the trade fair provided opportunities for them to exhibit their potential and capabilities to the national, sub-regional and international audience.
He identified shortage of semi-skilled labour as one of the most pressing issues today with serious implication for both businesses and the economy.
According to him, it is becoming difficult to find semi-skilled workforce like electricians, plumbers, welders, fitters, machinist, bricklayers, plasters, amongst others.
“Every sector of manufacturing and construction are experiencing some shortage and we need to collaborate to resolve this growing challenge.
“We at NACCIMA applaud the Federal Government for realising the need to partner with the Organised Private Sector (OPS) to find a lasting solution as contained in the Executive order 5.
It reads that: “The MDAs shall work with the OPS in consultation with other relevant government agencies both at federal and state levels to achieve sustainable personnel development, training of Nigerian professionals, contractors, and technocrats contractors.
“We are therefore calling on government to walk the talk by actively collaborating with us to work with member companies whose factories can also be used as training centers to ensure that the identified gaps are closed.
“We implore government to put appropriate machinery in place to actualise the development of the semi-skilled workforce and in line with the above, we invite companies who have factories and are ready to join in this project to contact the association,” he said.