The World Bank says the role of Lagos to Nigeria’s stability and growth cannot be overemphasised, as the state remains the economic gateway to the country and the world.
Country Director of the World Bank, Mr Rachid Benmessaoud said the giant strides of the present administration in the State had received a global attention.
Mr Benmessaoud was speaking when he paid a courtesy visit to Governor Mr Akinwunmi Ambode in Ikeja, Lagos.
He stated that the World Bank was proud to be part of the transformation.
“We really acknowledge the national, regional and local importance of Lagos being the gateway to Nigeria and for the rest of the world; there is a success story that is being told not only in Nigeria but globally, Nigeria needs Lagos, Lagos is a huge part of the growth for the country and the growth is about job creation and stability of the country, we are really honoured to have been your partner and we will be honoured to continue the partnership,” the Country Director explained.
According to him, the engagements the World Bank has with Lagos have been unique in Nigeria and the existing partnerships are coming to a close.
“We are closing our ongoing portfolio which is very small right now, we would very much like to support you and go for the next generation of programmes that are responsive for your vision, we are very pleased to partner with you as you set an agenda for a transformative state,” Mr Benmessaoud affirmed.
Key areas of partnership
He said the visit to the Governor, therefore, was to explore ways to build on the existing partnerships in the areas of transportation, energy and the environment towards meeting the growing demands of residents as well as attract more investors into the State.
“The objective of the visit is to maintain and capitalise on the positive momentum that we have created through our partnership over the years and also to see how we can leverage that partnership in helping you, supporting you in achieving your vision for the urban transformation in Lagos State that will enable you to create a livable city, bringing more jobs that will not only retain and expand the existing businesses but also attract new businesses and generate more revenue for the State and attracting the private sector,” he said.
Governor Ambode commended the World Bank for its partnership over the years.
He noted that the world body had contributed immensely to the success story of Lagos State, especially in the transportation sector.
Governor Ambode further explained that Lagos was the first State in Nigeria to receive budget support from the World Bank, saying that the state has been able to show evidence that the partnership has been very successful.
“It’s been very fruitful and we’ve become totally responsive to ensure that whatever it is that we are getting in terms of support from multilateral institutions, we show credibility. Also to show that we plan well for such support and we are willing to also continue to abide by international standards to ensure that whatever it is we are getting as support, it is used for the common good of every citizen in Lagos which is the whole essence of service,” the Governor said.
Governor Ambode added that his administration had fashioned out a work plan to integrate water, rail and road transport system to evolve a viable means through which ‘Lagosians’ could commute with ease.