*How we cushioned the recession in Lagos
By Adeyemi Robinson-Adefioye, Lagos
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has been praised by the management team of Unilever Nigeria Plc led by its Managing Director, Mr Yaw Nsakor, for providing the appropriate environment that helped businesses in the state to thirive and succeed in 2016.
Speaking on Wednesday while visiting the governor, Mr Yaw Nsakor was told how his administration took decisive steps, deployed workable strategies and judiciously utilised resources to cushion the effects of the economic recession witnessed across the nation in 2016.
Governor Ambode spoke at Lagos House in Ikeja when he received the explained that the State Government reflated the economy by embarking on more capital projects and also created a conducive environment for small and medium scale businesses to thrive during the period of recession.
The Governor said: “We are aware that as at the time we are speaking the situation was deplorable and inflow from the Federal Government to the states were just not there with internally generated revenue dropping and a lot of companies were plugging down and taking people out of employment. Our government also 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’s why you see people asking whether there was a recession in Lagos and where are 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”.
Governor Ambode who also received the President and Chairman of Council, Prince Dapo Adelegan and Executives of the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce also on a courtesy visit said his administration among other things would continue to focus more on building the GDP of the State to serve as a role model to other states in the country to boost the economy.
He said: “Like you mentioned this a year of celebration, you know Lagos is marking 50th anniversary but what matters is the future of Lagos in another 50 years. That’s something we should look at from your perspective and the perspective on investment; we should focus on how to grow the GDP of the state and create a vision where some years later we will be able to comment that our partnership today established an example of what a typical state should be for the rest of the country in terms of development and economy.
“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. We have been working on that aspect and we started seeing results. Before you came in, I received the MD of Unilever and I was happy to know that in the last twelve month the numbers that they have got in terms of growth and profit has improved even in this present economy recession where people are not suppose to be buying.
“We have created some infrastructure 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, it has inspired us also to continue to partner with structured platforms like yours so that we can take Nigeria out of the recession because the bottom line is we should continually reflate the economy in a way that everybody feels so comfortable to spend that little disposable income in their hands without actually feeling the pain, we are tired of suicide attempt”.
Governor Ambode, who reiterated the government’s partnership with the NBCC, applauded their contribution to the growth and development of the state and the Nigeria economy also disclosed that investments in the state will no longer be centralized like before.
Earlier, the Managing Director of Unilever, Mr. Yaw Nsarkoh said they were at the Lagos House to thank the Governor on the State’s 50 years anniversary as well as the developmental strides his administration has recorded since he assumed office.
Nsarkoh specifically said his company 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 Lagos. Let me also commend Lagos for qualitative progress in public service, decongestion of roads, security, road rehabilitation, Light up Lagos etc,” he said.