By Prince Osuagwu
The Lagos state government is banking on technology to achieve targets of its 2021 budget. Accordingly, all ministries and parastatals in the state have also tilted their strategies towards technology adoptions to align with the aims and aspirations of the state.
The state dropped the hint recently at a media roundtable on the Lagos 2021 budget. The roundtable which had almost all the state’s Commissioners and special Advisers, including those from science and tech, transportation and infrastructure, education, health and finance, among others, exposed massive technology adoptions in the state processes which have improved governance in the state.
Science and tech
Hinting on the importance the state attached to technology for good governance, Special Adviser on Technology and Innovation, Mr Olatubosun Alake disclosed that the state intends to raise the adoption of science and tech and creativity in the state, to be able to digitize governance.
He said due the burdened ecosystem, the state needed a data achitecture layer that will give it a smart city portfolio and to that effect, the state has embarked on different technology adoptions that will help democratise data in the state. some of the efforts include the deployment of over 2000 CCTV cameras to help manage traffic, huge sums of money given as grants to some institutions in the country to facilitate research and development and several grants to start-ups to help cushion the effects of COVID-19 on their operations.
According to Alake, “ besides all these, the Lagos Open Source Project has helped in democratising software development not only in the state but in the country at large. We are also deploying unified fibre infrastructure for carrying telecommunications cables and other wired infrastructure in the state.
“ This is to support operators of telecommunications and other relevant utilities, as well as provide infra and Connectivity requirements for Lagos State. The project is a Dig Once policy in a bid to eliminate fragmentary and or constant digging of state roads and associated Rights of Way of Operators” he added.
Even in education, the Commissioner, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo, admitted that “ the state has revolutionized our education sector with cutting edge technology, constant training of teachers, continuous renovation and construction of schools, and the expansion of our skills acquisition centres. We recognize that early child education is the foundation of all learning endeavours, in our resolve not to leave any child behind; we launched the EKO EXCEL Program to improve learning outcomes in our 19 children.
Again, we have deployed over 9000 devices in our schools, and thus have been able to train 9000 teachers while providing complementary textbooks and other ancillary teaching aids for over 350,000 students. These devices will serve as teaching aids. Under our school digitization program, we will also give our students electronic devices”.
Another audacious technology disposition to governance the state has taken, is in the transportation sector
According to the Commissioner of transportation, Dr Fredrick Oladeinde, “technology is evident in our approach to transportation and traffic management. In line with this, we have embarked on synchronized signalization of our junctions and roundabouts to resolve 60 identified gridlock points across the state in addition to converting six critical junctions and roundabouts (Ikotun, Opebi and the series on the Lekki Epe Express Way) to increase vehicular capacity. We are also commencing some strategic transportation projects which will be heavily dependent on technological advancements”.
The Commissioner for Economic planning and Budget, Mr Sam Egube said: “ With technology, we were able to successfully restructure all existing internal loans from an interest rate of 20 percent to 12 percent, and in some cases single digit interest rates; resulting in a cumulative cost savings of N12billion: Our debt portfolios will also be held as much as possible in Naira to reduce our foreign currency exposure risk.
“ Another major achievement in the outgoing fiscal cycle is the successful review of the 2018 Land Use Charge Law. The law now accommodates the yearnings of Lagosians for a more friendly, modern and realistic Land Use Charge Law. 15 We strongly believe that with the new Land Use Charge Law and other complimentary initiatives like the E-GIS, E-Tax and the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA) Electronic Platform, the sector will be better organized, providing improved service from government to the sector stakeholders and increase the valid revenue to the state from the sector”