By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowoopejo
A call has gone to the Lagos State government to establish an Economic Development Board and a $250 million enterprise support venture fund in its bid to become Africaâ€™s model megacity.
Making the call at the 5th Lagos Economic Summit, Ehingbeti 2010, Mr. Jude Uzonwanne, representing Tom Craig of Monitor Group, South Africa, said in spite of the poor level of Nigeriaâ€™s competitiveness status, the state had potentials that competitiveness intervention could unleash.
His words: â€œLagos already has most of what it needed to drive a competitiveness plan. In order to effectively promote a cluster-based economic development strategy, four key components are needed. They are committed leadership, shared vision, organising for activation and a sense of urgency.â€
According to him, most of the highflying nations like Dubai, Hong Kong and Ireland had established a development programme.
Stating that such a board must be crossstakeholder governed, Uzonwanne said being politically neutral and having a long term strategy would ensure that â€œit survives the policy inconsistency that challenges Nigeria.â€
Saying a venture fund is needed, he however, urged that it be â€œmanaged by an independent entity to encourage new company formation in priority cluster.â€
He urged the state government to concentrate on enhancing the competitive advantage of the state in the areas of financial service, shipping logistics and distribution; business traveller tourism, educational services and information technology and pharmaceuticals.
In his remarks, an industrialist, Chief Chukwuma Okolo, noted that Lagos played a significant role in Nigeria requiring that adequate attention be paid to the state.
According to him, â€œLagos bears the burden of Nigeria and has the most investment friendly environment in Nigeria.â€
Earlier, the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget and Chairman of the Lagos Economic Summit Group observed that the resolution from the last summit had been integrated into the stateâ€™s planning process with substantial accomplishment across sectors.