Partnership is considered essential in order to address critical issues of megacity challenges and development. And it is the private sector that holds the key for development and growth, in line with state Government’s vision to make Lagos the third world’s largest megacity
“Infrastructure renewal and development will come through the private sector’s creative financial ability, strong managerial and organisational innovations and above all, robust cutting-edge technological deployment,” Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola has said.
Yet challenges must continue to be addressed and Lagos State Government is focusing on major factors that hinder development. Security is one of these issues and partnerships continue to be key. On this, public-private partnerships (PPPs) and community engagement have resulted in effective community policing and management of any security breaches. This has led to the establishment of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund, a PPP framework for mobilising and providing equipment and resources for the effective operations of security agencies. Another step has been the revitalisation of the Rapid Response Squad, a combat-ready metropolitan mobile police unit with high capacity to contain threats.
Security for investors is also key. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Lagos State is creating a policy framework in partnership with the UK Department for International Development (IKDFID) and the World Bank to ensure a conducive environment for investors as well as to enhance and sustain competitiveness in Lagos.
Government Fashola’s administration is also focusing on infrastructure projects. For the economic capital, like other global megacities, infrastructure renewal and development is key for a sustainable socioeconomic growth. And for this, private sector investment and participation is once again necessary. The Lagos State Government has set up the Office of Public-Private Partnerships directly under Governor Fashola’s office with the objective of accelerating the delivery of economic and social infrastructure to the citizens.
“There is much to be done in the state and all the challenges that exist are in fact opportunities for the private sector to partner with the state Government. What can be done by the private sector, we will leave to them. The state will focus on social infrastructure,” Olusola Oworu, Commissioner of Commerce and Industry for Lagos State has said.
The Lekki Toll Road Concession Project executed by the Lekki Concession Company Ltd is a pioneering PPP scheme example. Under the Build-Operate-Transfer model of delivery, the concession will last 30 years, following which the assets will be transferred to Lagos State Government.
The Lekki Free Zone can be considered another example of PPP. Phase 1 of the project has been done under partnership with the Chinese consortium CCECC-Beyond. Lagos State Government and the Nigerian partner Lekki Worldwide Investment Ltd have entered a joint venture with the Chinese Consortium to establish the Lekki Free Zone Development Company; authorised as the sole legally competent entity to develop, operate and manage the Lekki Free Zone project. The Lekki Free Zone will engage directly in the economic development of Nigeria by providing a choice for investors in the most conducive free zone business environment.
Lagos State Government aims to develop an offshore economic growth zone, attract investments, promote export, create job opportunities and establish a one stop global business haven; but Governor Fashola has told investors that “the Lekki Free Trade Zone development is part of a larger overall infrastructure development and redevelopment plan for the City of Lagos.”
Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has entered into agreement with a Singaporean company for the building of the proposed deep-sea port in the Lekki Free Zone, in the Ibeju Lekki area, along the Atlantic coastline. When fully developed, it will be the first deep-sea port in the country and it will accommodate container vessels up to 8,000 twenty-foot-equivalent unit (TEU) and liquid bulk vessels up to 160,000 deadweight (DWT). The first phase of the port will take three years. Although they are a little behind schedule, steady progress is being made.
“In the zone opportunities are immense,” Mrs. Oworu, behind the pioneering development of the Lekki Free Zone, has said. “It is a greenfield project. In whatever we do with foreign partners there is an element that ensures technology transfer, capacity building and development; so our people will also benefit in the long run.”
It is clear that Lagos State Government is aggressively pursuing the development of the zone, in which, it has been decided, the private sector will play a decisive hand.
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