Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, Lagos State Governor, disclosed that his administration has to exponentially increase capital expenditure at the height of economic recession in order to reflate the state economy.
Ambode also revealed that like other states in the country, the state’s economic situation was really deplorable, noting that the internally generated revenue was nose-diving, companies plugging down and a good number of people were losing their jobs.
He gave insight into how the state survives the economic meltdown at the State House, Alausa at a meeting with the Managing Director, Unilever Nigeria Plc, Mr. Yaw Nsakor, and the firm’s top management staff.
At the height of economic recession that crippled almost all states in the federation, Ambode said the state government reflated the economy by embarking on more capital projects and created conducive environment for small and medium scale businesses (SMEs) to thrive.
He acknowledged that the situation of things was deplorable and inflow from the federal government “to the states was not just there. Also, the internally generated revenue was dropping. A lot of companies were plugging down and taking people out of employment”.
Amid the economic turbulence, the governor said his administration “applied judicious use of resources with our ability to appropriate as to where needs are. Technically, our IGR was going down and nose diving and nothing was coming in”.
“The only thing the government did was to reflate the economy and push more capital expenditure out and allow those at the fringe of low income level to earn something on a daily basis.
“That is what we have been doing. That is why you see people asking whether there was a recession in Lagos and where they are getting money to do all those construction. You need to apply judicious use of resources and be able to appropriate as to where the needs are.
“Lagos stands on a threshold of history as the biggest economy in the country right now. The state has been able to create some level of happiness for the market to be able to buy products from Unilever and other companies doing business in the state,” he explained.
He thus explained the new focus of his administration, which he said, would centre on how “to grow the GDP and create a vision for the state. After some years, we should be able to say our partnership today has produced an example of what a typical state should be”.
“Other states in the federation should be able to learn some good lessons from Lagos State. In the last two years, we have tried as much as possible to increase our indices on the ease of doing businesses and make sure that we address the challenge of security.
“In the last 12 months, we have significantly improved even in this present economic recession where people are not supposed to be buying. We have developed some critical infrastructure projects that have some convergence with their marketing potential.
“The city is safe. There is a 24/7 economy and the little money that goes around from our own capital expenditure, people are able to buy those basic things and it turns out to be a greater number that grows their GDP. We are very excited about the things we have done in the last two years,” he said.
Also at the meeting, Nsarkoh said they came to felicitate with Ambode on the 50th anniversary of Lagos and the development strides his administration recorded since he assumed office.
Nsakor said Unilever recorded immense success in the previous year owning “to the friendly business climate in the state. I will like to thank you very much because without any doubt, you contributed immensely to our growth. Lagos is a big contributor to Unilever success story in 2016″.
“Without going further, let me congratulate all of you for the golden jubilee anniversary of the creation of Lagos. Let me also commend Lagos for qualitative progress in public service, decongestion of roads, security, road rehabilitation, Light up Lagos, among others,” the managing director.