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To sustain infrastructure renewal in Lagos


Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode

Sir: It is pretty obvious now, that there is a deliberate massive infrastructure renewal drive across Lagos. What may not be so obvious are the deeper implications of this drive, which we will try to highlight with a few examples.

But more importantly, we will shed some light on the imperative of government becoming more efficient in generating the resources to fund these projects. For many years, Oshodi was best characterized by traffic jams, crime and disorder.

Today, Oshodi is undergoing an overhaul on a huge scale. It is being turned into a modern transportation hub, defined not only by connectivity but also by convenience.

In due course, Lagosians needing to be transported to any part of Lagos may simply converge at Oshodi. Because it is a transportation hub, it is innately a commercial melting pot.

In addition to the intelligent network of road exchanges that are being constructed with Oshodi as the locus, therefore, high rise structures are also springing up.

By the time the developers take their leave, Oshodi would have been linked directly to the Lagos International Airport through the International Airport road, a road which is undergoing its own massive transformation into a 10-lane expressway.

The bedlam of old would have been transformed into a modern transport interchange, not unlike Victoria Station in London.

There will be shopping malls, cafés, cinema halls, and lots of other commercial outlets and conveniences in Oshodi. Creating order on the Oshodi axis will by enhancing commuting efficiency in Lagos making the economy far more productive. In addition, social and commercial activities in Oshodi will create livelihoods for many people including some who may have otherwise been disposed to crime.

Besides roads, bridges and other physical infrastructure, another area where the state is aggressively working to make a difference is power.

The state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has vowed that round-the-clock electricity availability would be achieved in the state over the next 12 months, via what the state calls the embedded power project.

Essentially, it would be distributing independently produced power to residents and businesses within the state. When this eventually happens, Lagos would have fully unlocked the value and potential in the unbundling of NEPA/PHCN.

We can only imagine by how much, regular and predictable power will impact the businesses of artisans and small enterprises including hair/beauty salons, business centers, bakeries, hospitals, supermarkets and dozens more.

Elsewhere, Lagos is investing in security. There have been huge investments in street lighting and security-bolstering equipment, facilities and manpower.

A Lagos Security Trust Fund has also seen the corporate world contributing funds and equipment towards synergizing government efforts. A “neighborhood watch” initiative, which is a community policing strategy, was inaugurated not long ago.

The above and more are some of the elements that have long helped to set Lagos apart from its contemporaries as a state that is truly working. These achievements are largely attributable to skillful generation of revenue internally.

In contending with the challenge of better efficiency in its taxation regime, Lagos must embrace more creativity. It must strive to be more systematic and painstaking in its enumeration of taxable citizens, businesses and properties.

In so doing, it needs to avidly deploy technology. Modern GPS systems can assist with property identification and enumeration for instance.

Hopefully, with an increasingly adroit taxation regime, government will speedily redress these areas where it has under-invested over the years, in so doing, serving as a beacon and inspiration to other states in the federation.
Osebumere Odia (Economist and technopreneur), Surulere, Lagos

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