Speaking at the 14th Annual Lecture of the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) held at Muson Centre in Onikan with the theme: “Living Well Together, Tomorrow: The Challenge Of Africa’s Future Cities,” Governor Ambode admitted that the present connectivity mode in Lagos was not acceptable and befitting for a mega city, and as such a well-structured transportation mode would soon be put in place to address the challenge.
“When I wake up in the morning and see all these yellow buses and see Okada and all kinds of tricycles and then we claim we are a mega city, that is not true and we must first acknowledge that that is a faulty connectivity that we are running.
“Having accepted that, we have to look for the solution and that is why we want to banish yellow buses this year. We must address the issue of connectivity that makes people to move around with ease and that is where we are going.
“For instance, people going from Ikorodu to CMS have started leaving their cars at home because the buses are very convenient and so why can’t we do that for other places? Yes, we don’t have the money to do that but we can go to the capital market and then improve on the technology of collection of fares and that will encourage investors and then the city will change,” Governor Ambode said.
He said government was also embarking on massive reform in waste management system, expressing optimism that the plan will fully be actualized by July this year.
He said: “We are also embarking on massive reform in the waste and sanitation management system. I don’t like the way the city is and the Private Sector Participants (PSP) collectors are not having enough capacity to do it but again should I tax people to death, the answer is no. I don’t want to tax people and so we need this partnership with the private sector so that they can invest in the sanitation management of the city and in no time maybe by July, the city will change forever.”
The Governor, who recalled the massive infrastructures being put in place in critical sectors of the Lagos economy such as transport sector, road construction and rehabilitation, construction of lay-bys, and flyovers among others, said the main objective of his administration remained the growth of the Lagos economy from 5th to 3rd largest economy in Africa.
On power, Governor Ambode said the major issue had always been with transmission and advocated an embedded power initiative that would allow clusters of Independent Power Projects (IPP) to run the cities.
He said he had remained focused on some issues such as infrastructure, security, job creation, power, adoption of technology as an enabler and driving investment through ease of doing business.
Meanwhile, Ambode on Monday said that the State would require at least $30billion dollars to adequately deliver 30 most impactful infrastructural projects over the next five years.
The Governor, who spoke shortly before inaugurating a 12-member Economic Advisory Committee at the Lagos House, Ikeja, said the projected figure represents about $6billion per annum, whereas the provision for capital projects in the 2017 budget is pegged at N500billion (about $1.6billion).
Alluding to the fact that the projection clearly shows that government alone cannot address the infrastructure deficit, he said the inauguration of the Economic Advisory Committee was therefore a step in the right direction.
“If Lagos was a country and we are the fifth largest economy in Africa, then we have to start thinking about the number five. In that regard, you must not think taxes of Lagos state citizens or IGR, you must create some kind of platform that would allow some other people who are outside to tell us how to run a country in a State.
“Let me crave your indulgence to present a picture of what we are confronted with. Our 2017 budget has earmarked about N500 billion (about US$1.6 billion) as capital spend. Whereas our recent Infrastructure needs analysis shows that over $30 billion would be required to achieve the 30 most impactful projects for the State over the next five years (an average of US$6 billion per annum).
By Ijeoma Nwachukwu