Seamless Port Operations Critical To End Apapa Gridlock

Seamless Port Operations Critical To End Apapa Gridlock

…Says Oshodi Transport Interchange, Airport Road’ll Positively Transform City

Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday identified seamless port operations as a condition that will enable permanent resolution of the Apapa gridlock.

Speaking at the second edition of Lagos Corporate Assembly tagged ‘A+ Meets Business’, a forum organized by the State Government to interact with members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) as well as Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, held at Lagos House in Ikeja, the Governor said while the move to repair the major roads in Apapa was laudable, concerted efforts must equally be put in place to address the issues that gave rise to the crisis which were more about port management.

While responding to concerns raised by the business community on the negative effects the chaotic situation in Apapa was having on their business, the Governor said call-up system for tankers and containerized trucks must be structured to eliminate the present chaos, while issuance of licenses for more tank farms in the axis must be put on hold.
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He said: “Beyond the roads, the fundamental issues have more to do about the concession and also the fact that the basic capacities of the Ports not meeting what is presently going on there and then maybe in the loading bay inside the ports you only have capacity to accommodate maybe about 50 trucks and then there is no organised exit and entrance system.

“So, someone who does not have any permit drives all the way from other states without any focus and then pack on the bridge; he does not even have any business inside the ports, the ports maybe can only take 50 trucks and then you have almost like 500 trucks so everything is just totally disorganized and because Lagos is a sub-national, there are limitations of political power play and the conflict of personalities and so those things affect your organizational drive. So, sometimes, Governors sometimes get frustrated and out of frustration you keep quiet.

“The truth is that those issues are more germane than the roads. So, if Akin Ambode goes and repair the roads but the planning process and logistics to enter the ports are not in my hand and should I now go to the long bridge at the toll gate and stop those trucks, they will say I am being sectional and so I must allow free movement as a cosmopolitan state and so people come in and go out and we are just in a fix.
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“So, on other part of repairing the roads, the Federal Government has taken charge but one thing is to say what you want to do, the other thing is to quickly go and do it and so in the process of planning, speaking and delivery, it could take years but within our own limit as a State Government, we have set up a Joint Task Force of all the security agencies to ensure that at least there is still free movement within the structured chaos that we have in Apapa,” he said.

While expressing optimism that the intervention of Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo would go a long way in addressing the crisis, the Governor also condemned the recent granting of approval for another tank farm to be situated in Apapa, saying such would only aggravate the chaotic situation already on hand.

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On international trade fair complex, the Governor said while awaiting the process to issue out another concession by the Federal Government and development which may take years, the State Government, in the medium term, would look into the possibility of getting an investor to build a large convention/exhibition centre in the State.

Speaking on the Oshodi Transport Interchange and Airport Road currently under construction, Governor Ambode said the projects were conceived and being implemented to create massive jobs for the people, and also transform the face of Lagos forever.

He said in a bid to scale up infrastructure, a summit on Infrastructure Financing would hold early next year, while the State Government is also willing and ready to partner with any investor interested in investing in provision of critical infrastructures.

On efforts made so far to enhance the ease of doing business, the Governor said an industrial park had been approved for location in Imota, while another industrial development centre was approved, aside the fact that over N10billion had been released to the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (ETF) to grant loans to members of the informal sector.

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He said the State Government also approved business clinic for the Micro and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs), while the Public Private Partnership Office had also been reactivated, in addition to harmonization of inspection of work places.

Earlier, President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr Nike Akande; Chairman, Ikeja Branch of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Otunba Francis Meshioye; and Chairman, Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), Lagos State Chapter, Dr Solomon Aderoju commended Governor Ambode for the various laudable initiatives such as massive infrastructural renewal, rail infrastructure, investment in security, traffic management, power sector development, Light Up Lagos project, the N25billion ETF, among others, saying the projects were important enablers to the private sector.

They also commended the Governor for addressing all the complaints raised by them at the last year edition of the meeting.

 

Oshodi Interchange: Adhere To Safety Measures, Lagos Counsels Motorists, Residents

Oshodi Interchange: Adhere To Safety Measures, Lagos Counsels Motorists, Residents

…Says Project ‘ll Redefine Public Transportation, Engender Economic Growth

The Lagos State Government on Sunday urged motorists and other road users to strictly adhere to safety rules and measures already put in place to prevent any disaster as a result of the ongoing construction of Oshodi Transport Interchange.

The project, which is being executed on behalf of the State Government by Messrs Planet Projects, an indigenous firm, seeks to create a world class central business district with focus on transportation, security, environment and urban renewal. The interchange has 3-multi-storey bus terminals with waiting area, loading bays, ticketing stands, drivers lounge, parking areas, conveniences, surveillance tower and CCTV gadgets.

Other features include accessible walkways, pedestrian bridges/sky-walks to link the three terminals, shopping malls with street lighting and a dedicated security team on ground.

Upon completion, the project would bring about organised transport system, boost intra-tourism for Oshodi, bequeath iconic city gateway to the State, ensure secured and comfortable environment, as well as economic growth and job creation.

In a statement by the Permanent Secretary in the State’s Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Olujimi Hotonu, the government said with the high level of construction work ongoing at the project site, it became expedient to advise drivers, commuters, road users and residents of the area to be vigilant and cautious of safety measures.

He particularly cautioned pedestrians to keep moving anytime they are in the axis, saying that the safety of residents is of paramount importance to the firm and the Lagos State Government.

Speaking on the safety measures, Hotonu said: “With the high level of construction at the Oshodi Transport Interchange, drivers, commuters and road users are advised to adhere strictly to safety rules and measures of certain risk around the zone.

“In view of the fact that the Lagos State Government places high premium on safety of lives and property of the people, we like to specifically urge road users along the corridor to avoid fallen object, deep holes, muddy road, dust, noise and heavy moving equipment crossing, among others.

“Furthermore, we like to counsel pedestrians to keep moving and stay safe when they are anywhere around the construction site in Oshodi. As a government, we are working hard to deliver the project on schedule and every effort needed to achieve it is being exerted,” he said.

Already, Hotonu said with the work on the project already at advanced stage, Oshodi was now experiencing free flow of traffic as a result of Traffic System Management (TSM) measures put in place, adding that upon completion, the project would redefine public transportation and foster economic growth and job creation.

Also speaking, Managing Director of Planet Projects, Mr Biodun Otunola said over 1,000 piles (22m) and pile caps have been installed, while the 3-multi-storey bus terminal buildings were at advanced stage of construction.

He said the cars and taxis parks were ongoing with massive walkway under construction, while lighting of the entire Oshodi area was ongoing, all of which were being done by over 500 workers on site.

Speaking further, Otunola said Oshodi lacked adequate pedestrian facilities, walkways, bus shelters and bus stations and the hub generally unorganized with the environment in a degraded state bringing about attendant poor transport facilities, overcrowding, huge traffic congestion and threat to security, a development he said necessitated the decision of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode not only to redesign the traffic flow but also transform the aesthetics of the area with iconic infrastructure.

Oshodi, arguably, is the busiest transport hub in Nigeria with over 5,600 buses loading per day and spread over 13 different motor parks, as well as over 200,000 passengers boarding per day and about 1million pedestrians moving daily in the area, with about 76 per cent of the entire area dedicated to transport and related activities.

Southern Governors Unite On True Federalism, Devolution Of Powers

Southern Governors Unite On True Federalism, Devolution Of Powers

…To Collaborate On Security, Infrastructure, Economy

…Appoint Ambode Chairman, Dickson, Umahi As Co-Chairmen

For the first time in 12 years, Governors of the Southern States of Nigeria on Monday met in Lagos, where they unanimously reiterated the call for true federalism and devolution of powers to States.

The Governors, in a communique at the end of the meeting read by the host Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, also resolved to collaborate with one another for the growth and development of their economies.

Aside Governor Ambode, the meeting was attended by Governors of Ogun, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; Oyo, Seantor Abiola Ajimobi; Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Ebonyi, David Umahi; Edo, Mr. Godwin Obaseki; Ondo, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu; Abia, Mr. Okezie Ikpeazu; Enugu, Mr. Henry Ugwuanyi; Bayelsa, Mr. Seriaki Dickson and Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose.

Governors of Cross River, Anambra and Delta were represented by their Deputies – Mr. Evara Esu; Dr. Ikem Okeke and Mr. Kingsley Otuaru respectively.

Continuing with the communique, Governor Ambode said the Governors after extensive deliberations, also emphasized priority on security and lives and property of citizens of the regions, while also resolving to work on effective linkage on good infrastructure across the 17 States in the region.

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At the meeting, Governor Ambode was unanimously appointed as the Chairman of the Southern Governors Forum (SGF) while Governors Seriaki Dickson of Bayelsa and David Umahi of Ebonyi States were appointed as Co- Chairmen of the Forum.

The Forum also scheduled the next meeting for Port Harcourt in a yet to be announced date.

Earlier, Governor Ambode, while welcoming his colleagues to the meeting, reflected on the clamour for true federalism and devolution of powers, saying that states will benefit from the envisaged restructuring.

He said the goals of true federalism, which included the strengthening of autonomy and the enhancement of fiscal viability will enable the states to develop at their own pace and based on their peculiarities.

He said the forum had achieved an increased awareness on the sustenance of the national question germane to peaceful co-existence in the country.

However, he said there is a lot to be done and achieved, stressing that true federalism required urgent, meticulous and proactive attention by the forum.

Ambode frowned at what he described as the non-periodic review of the revenue formula as provided by the constitution to reflect evolving realities.

He said the review is crucial to enhance the viability of states and local government and their capacity to fulfil their developmental roles in the polity.

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The governor added: “States are disparaged for always carrying begging bowls to Abuja in quest of hand-outs from the Federal Government. This is a function of our present national constitution that burdens the Federal Government with activities and responsibilities that rightly fall within the province of states.

“The productivity and revenue-generating capacities of most states are thus stifled, thus turning them into no better than street beggar states incapable of even meeting routine obligations of paying workers’ salaries and pensions without federal support.”

Ambode recalled that Lagos State had fought and won several legal battles since 1999 that have systematically strengthened her autonomy and enhanced her fiscal viability.

He noted that the state had won the legal control over the management of its environment, the control of urban and physical planning, the regulation of overhead masts, the registration and regulation of hotels and restaurants, and the control of inland waterways.

Ambode said these victories belonged, not only to Lagos, but also to other states, adding that, if Lagos could achieve so much by fighting alone, the Southern Governors’ Forum will accomplish more through collective planning and strategy.

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The governor said the forum has been reactivated at the time the National Assembly is harmonising its differences over the 1999 Constitution amendment, which will soon be transmitted to the Houses of Assembly for approval

He said: “It is important for this forum to comprehensively look at the proposed amendments with a view to working with our respective Houses of Assembly to ensure a coordinated response on our part that will strengthen the practice of democracy, federalism, constitutionalism and the rule of law.

Ambode clarified that, while pushing for greater devolution of powers, responsibilities and resources from the centre to the states, the goal of the forum is neither to a weak centre and strong states and vice versa.

The governor paid tribute to former Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu for his initiave, recalling that he hosted the first meeting of the forum in Akodo Beach Resort, Ibeju-Lekki, whe he was at the helm of affairs.

He said while the initiative was received with mixed feelings at the time, Tinubu was vindicated later because of its achievements as the forum became a vocal voice on maters of critical importance, not only to the Southern Nigeria, but to the country as a whole.

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Ambode hailed the forum for advocating for a special allocation to oil-producing states in the Federation Account, adding that its agitation led to the current 13 per cent revenue derivation and allocation from the Federation Account.

He said: “Another major victory won towards strengthening the country’s practice of true federalism was the declaration bybthe Supreme Court in 2002 that the then prevalent practice of the Federal Government deducting monies from the Federation Account as a first charge for the funding of Joint Venture Contracts, the NNPC priority projects, servicing of Federal Government’s external debt, the judiciary and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and other federal obligations were illegal and unconstitutional.

“The Supreme Court in that case abolished the special funds created by the Federal Government to enable it draw funds from the Federation Account to pay for matters that fell within its exclusive responsibility before sharing whatever was left with states and local governments.”

Lagos Unveils New Strategy To Boost Informal Sector

Lagos Unveils New Strategy To Boost Informal Sector

…Set To Launch Compendium Of Artisans

The Lagos State Government has concluded plans to launch a compendium of registered artisans in the State to scale up the informal sector with the overall objective of increasing job opportunities and growing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the State.

Speaking with Government House correspondents on Tuesday at Lagos House, Ikeja after a meeting between Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and members of Lagos State Council of Tradesmen and Artisans (LACOSTA), the State’s Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Dr Babatunde Durosimi-Etti said the compendium was part of the initiatives of the State Government to assist artisans to promote their businesses.

He said the compendium, which will be launched during the Artisans’ Day coming up in October, will comprise the list of all registered artisans in the State, their locations, business details and other necessary information.

According to the Commissioner, the compendium when fully launched will go a long way in increasing number of artisans to access the Employment Trust Fund (ETF) set up by the present administration in the State, and as well help residents and potential customers to locate artisans in any part of the State.

He said: “Governor Ambode at the meeting with the members of the association, said the setting up of the ETF was part of the inclusive policy of his administration and the Governor was also briefed that the association was collaborating with the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment to come up with a compendium of artisans whereby you probably be having state registered artisans which will be launched during the Artisans’ Day coming up in October.

“The compendium will have every artisan having a registration number and can be a sort of reference point for the Employment Trust Fund in assisting artisans to access capital,” Durosimi-Etti said.

He said the Governor also assured the artisans that all necessary efforts would be put in place to give them access to market, as part of initiatives to encourage and promote home-made.

On his part, LACOSTA President, Alhaji Nurudeen Buhari said the courtesy call by members of the association was basically to appreciate Governor Ambode for all the initiatives he

had brought up since the inception of his administration to support not only the artisans but the good people of the State.

He said the meeting was also to assure the Governor and the State Government that members of the association were very much committed toward contributing their quota to the growth and development of the State.

“We had fruitful deliberation with the Governor and he promised to build up the skill of our members as well as the compendium that will help our members to benefit more from the ETF. Most of our members have benefited already from the ETF loan and they are happy. And with the new compendium, I think more of our members will benefit and we want to thank the Governor for that,” Buhari said.

Eid-El-Kabir:  70 Trailer Load Of Lake Rice Arrive Lagos

Eid-El-Kabir:  70 Trailer Load Of Lake Rice Arrive Lagos

…As Govt Assures Of Fair Distribution Across Sales Centres

In an effort to ensure even distribution across all the sale centres, the Lagos State Government on Wednesday said that at least 70 trailer load of the LAKE RICE have arrived the State ahead of the commencement of the sale on Thursday.

The State’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Toyin Suarau who spoke to journalists, said that the Government has made adequate arrangement to ensure that Lagosians willing to purchase LAKE RICE can do so without much hassles.

“This present administration has made the necessary logistics in place. Trailers are coming into the State with the rice. As we speak, there are over 30 trailer loads in Lagos, by Friday it would be about 40, by next week it would be up to 70 trucks and even after the Sallah period, there would be more coming into the State,” the Commissioner said.

According to him, the Rice would be on sale across the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas, saying that the decision was to ensure that residents can get it without travelling far distance.

Bags of Lake Rice being offloaded for distribution and sale across Lagos State by the Government at the Agricultural Development Authority Complex, Oko-Oba, Agege on Wednesday, 23 August 2017
Bags of Lake Rice being offloaded for distribution and sale across Lagos State by the Government at the Agricultural Development Authority Complex, Oko-Oba, Agege on Wednesday, 23 August 2017

He said the rice would also be available at LTV Blue Roof Complex, Agidingbi, Ikeja, while the prices still remain the same as N12, 000 for 50kg bag, N6,000 for 25kg and N2,500 for 10kg.

“There is going to be even distribution of the LAKE RICE and that’s why we are using all the Local governments and the Local Council Development Areas.

“This will ensure wide distribution of the product to as many people who want it. we have made arrangement for the rice to continue to come into the State, so there is no need for panic buy or any form of rush, just go to your local government or local council development area you will get it to buy,” Suarau said.

Suarau who affirmed that the sale of the LAKE RICE would commence on Thursday, said the State’s Agricultural Development Authority Complex in Oko-Oba, Agege would flag off the sales while other Local Governments centres would follow suit.

“The Local Government and Local Council Development Areas are the grassroots. Our target is the residents at the grassroots. I may be able to afford rice for N18, 000 or N20, 000 but some people may not be able to do so. Last Christmas, if not for the Lake Rice, some people would not have eaten rice and you know rice is the main food for Christmas,” he said.

The Commissioner also expressed optimism that with the up-scaling of the Imota Rice Milling Plant from 2.5 metric tons to 16 metric tons per hour, expected to be up and running by next year, the production of LAKE RICE would be done in the State to ensure availability of the product all year round.