The World Bank on Thursday said that the role of Lagos State to the nation’s stability and growth could not be over-emphasised, as the state remains the economic gateway to the country, for the rest of the world.
The Country Director of the World Bank, Mr Rachid Benmessaoud, said this on Thursday during a courtesy visit to Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode at the Lagos House.
Benmessaoud said the giant strides being recorded by the present administration in the state had received global attention, adding that the World Bank was proud to be part of the transformation.
“Nigeria needs Lagos, Lagos is a huge part of the growth in the country and the growth is about job creation and national stability.
“We are really honored to have been your partner and we would be honoured to continue the partnership.
“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 and that success story is really thanks to the leadership that you (Ambode) brings in, with a clarity of vision.
“Also, worthy of note is the speed with which you take decisions and implement programmes and projects,” Benmessaoud said.
He recalled that the World Bank’s previous engagements with the state had been unique.
The country director also said that the bank looks toward other opportunities to build on the positive momentum and partner with the state on its urban regeneration drive.
Benmessaoud added, “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 to your vision.
“We are very pleased to partner with you as you set an agenda for a transformative state.
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.
According to him, the partnerships will help in 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 partnerships over many years.
“We will also see how we can leverage that partnership in helping you, supporting you, and achieving your vision for the urban transformation in Lagos State.
“This 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.
In gis response, Ambode thanked the World Bank for its partnership over the years, noting that they had contributed to the success story of Lagos State, especially in the transportation sector.
The Governor commended the successful execution of the three Development Policy Operations (DPOs) of the bank, saying that the World Bank had been able to show evidence that the partnership had been very successful.
“It has 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 continues to blossom.
“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 is used for the common good of every citizen in Lagos State, which is the whole essence of service,” the governor said.
Ambode also said that his administration has fashioned out a work plan to integrate water, rail and road transport systems to evolve a viable means through which Lagosians can commute within the state, with ease.
“I think the new sets of proposals are the kind of strategies we should put up for Lagos State and that is what this visit speaks to.
“I will like to see a strong support in the transport sector, so that we can have support for water, rail and other infrastructure that go with it.
“Like I said, we already have a work plan that integrates the three together, which we would share with the World Bank.
“We will also improve on our discussions in terms of advisory management, financing and also a different kind of support that ultimately helps us to deliver the dividends of democracy that we actually promised our people.
“We are very serious that we want to improve on transportation, improve on the environment and also power, because we believe that is the whole essence of making the state investor-friendly.
“We have improved a lot on security and we just think that moving 23million people on a daily basis in a comfortable way would mean that we will have to integrate our transport management system.
“This will be in such a way that you can move actually on water, using the rail also and then the road, as well,” he added. (NAN)