The Ambode Tsunami, FDI Drive And The Opportunities Ahead
Since the swearing in of President Buhari, the Nigerian government is taking all available means to cut down the high cost of governance and blocking wastages. In the same vein, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos state has launched a vigorous overhauling and restructuring campaign in the states' civil service and agencies with the aim of better and quality service delivery.
Ambode followed suit, apparently, to curb financial wastages and to further inch closer to the realisation of the Lagos Dream as the Business hub of Africa . This giant stride in reforms has seen him go all out against some highly placed public office holders. There is no better way to pass the message of his restructuring and war against impunity.
Of course, relieving some top guns of their appointment sends a thundering message. I mean, who could have anticipated the termination of appointments of public servants like Ms Olayinka Fashola, the sister of the former Governor of Lagos state, the then General Manager of Lagos State Residents Registration Agency, LASRRA, or LIRS Boss Tunde Fowler? Even Shayo Holloway of Lagos State Water Corporation, and many others.
This restructuring and cleansing didn't windowdress, it flowed down as all boards of parastatals and agencies under the state government got dissolved with immediate effect. He also retired the former permanent secretaries and swore in 19 others to echo his message of doing things in a different way.
The fact that Ambode is yet to constitute his cabinet has raised lots of criticism but his strongest critics were soon to understand his mindset. Some reforms need to forerun the cabinet, it shows. They got mum when he gave an ultimatum to government agencies using rented office spaces which cost the government millions of Naira annually to move to the states secretariat in order to cut cost.
To complement the restructuring and repositioning the civil service, Ambode has intensified his strategy to attract both local and foreign investors to the state. His foreign direct investment (FDI) drive has resulted in the launch of a newly created Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment that will ensure Lagos remains a safe haven for foreign investors.
Aside that, the Governor is gradually mapping out strategies to make Lagos state one of the biggest employers of labour in the world and this has not gone unnoticed. In less than 100 days of assuming office, he has assured a delegation of Walmart Incorporated led by the President/CEO of Walmart Europe, Middle East, Africa and Canada, Shelley Broade that the state is ready to give necessary support to assist the firm in establishing its presence in the state. Walmart is a leading global brand in retail supermarket with a workforce capacity of up to 2.2 million employees world wide.
Presumably, this will assist in providing employment for Lagos state's growing population of young people. With an estimated population of over 21 million people, the government's economic policies ,it is clear, plans to pay a lot of attention to unemployment, and business growth through support. The governor has been seen making frantic efforts to create the enabling environment for industries while assuring investors of his government's commitment towards making business work in a conducive Lagos. This same idea he shared when he hosted the representatives of Peugeot Automobile, a Group of Local, International Investors and Banks at Lagos House, Ikeja recently.
In clear terms , it cannot be over-emphasised that the major aim of this administration is to provide every useful infrastructure that will enable efficient business transactions in the state, hence generating more revenue and creating more employment.
In Ambode's favourite maxim, “We want you to fly into Lagos, start your business, find your way; live, work and enjoy in Lagos."