Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday called for a convergence in the foreign exchange rates as well as deliberate strategy to force down the inflation to a single digit and reduce interest rates as a means to stabilize the economy and put ailing businesses back on track.
Governor Ambode, who said this on Thursday at the commissioning of ultra-modern headquarters of Providus Bank in Lagos, said such would enable more business people to access funds and meet their obligations.
Expressing optimism that the economy was gradually making steady move out of recession, the Governor said proactive steps must now be taken to sustain the successes recorded so far.
Alluding to a recent report of World Economics revealing that the Nigerian economy would soon grow out of recession, Governor Ambode expressed delight at the fact that the consistent investment of the State Government in critical sectors contributed to the resurgence of the economy.
“While we are delighted that our efforts have contributed to this resurgence of the economy, there is still more to be done. The next steps are to achieve a convergence in the foreign exchange rates, force down the inflation to a single digit and reduce interest rates. This will enable more business people to access funds and meet their obligations,” he said.
Besides, the Governor commended President Muhammadu Buhari over the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) recently released by the Federal Government.
He said the economic blueprint would go a long way in charting the course for the economic recovery and growth desired by all.
He also commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for efforts at stabilizing the exchange rates, and expressed optimism that the steps being adopted would help ailing businesses to bounce back to profitability.
The Governor said his administration has maintained a consistent programme of actively reflating the economy through massive expenditure in infrastructural development and engaging competent local contractors who in turn employ the people.
He said from April 2016 to March 2017, a total of N16.9billion was released as payment of pension arrears to pensioners in the State, while N2billion was disbursed to young entrepreneurs and artisans under the N25billion Employment Trust Fund (ETF) scheme.
“We have maintained a consistent programme of actively reflating the economy through massive expenditure in infrastructural development and engaging competent local contractors who in turn employ our people.
“Our Employment Trust Fund has disbursed almost N2billion in the last quarter to young entrepreneurs and artisans. We have released N16.9billion for payment of arrears to pensioners in the State between April 2016 and March 2017.
“Our Light Up Lagos initiative has given traders and artisans extended time to carry out their businesses as we move towards our 24/7 economy. With these actions, we energized the economy and ensured that commercial activities continued in the State,” Governor Ambode said.
The Governor, who equally commended the management of Providus Bank for their commitment to positively impact the banking sector, urged them to come up with programmes that would bring more financial inclusion to Lagos specifically in the area of access to financial services.
“I urge you, as financial intermediaries, to facilitate the growth of the economy by designing products for the real sector thereby supporting made-in-Nigeria goods. I also urge you to pay special attention to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises because these are the fastest vehicles for job creation and growing new businesses,” Ambode said.
Earlier, Managing Director of the bank, Mr Walter Akpani commended Governor Ambode for the massive infrastructural development in the State and the efforts at enhancing ease of doing business.