It is my pleasure to be here with you again as we mark the Christmas Eve Dance, an annual tradition in Nigeria’s premier social club, the Yoruba Tennis Club.
I commend the Chairman, Patron and Trustees and members of the Yoruba Tennis Club for your continued efforts to promote peaceful co-existence in Lagos State. Our government is very appreciative of your support and the various humanitarian services rendered by the club to different communities in the State.
Your efforts and those of other well-meaning organisations have helped us maintain the leadership status of Lagos State as the most prosperous State in the nation.
The efforts of many years of sustained commitment to the painstaking and systematic implementation of the State’s strategic plan in all the sectors of our economy are today evident all over the State and our modest achievements are now benchmarked against those of frontline line nations across the continent.
The strength and resilience of the State’s economy was demonstrated during the period of economic recession which technically ended in the second quarter of this year. The contribution of our State to the turnaround of the national economy from negative to positive GDP growth was widely acknowledged. Our administration’s policy to reflate the economy through increased expenditure on capital projects, social infrastructure as well as funding the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises through our Employment Trust Fund created jobs and increased the disposable income of low and medium income earners across the State.
One of the direct effects was the improved turnover of the manufacturing sector which was actually identified as one of the sectors that contributed significantly to the overall positive growth recorded in the second quarter of this year.
In addition, as part of our strategy to make the State a choice destination for investments, we worked tirelessly towards improving the ease of doing business in Lagos and we were rewarded with our country’s upward movement by 24 points on the global ease of doing business index ranking. We are proud that most of the indicators that formed the basis for the new ranking were derived from our State.
On a general note, I am happy to report that 2017 has been an eventful year for our State. The year witnessed some historic and landmark events including the Golden Jubilee Anniversary of Lagos State, the completion and commissioning of some high-impact projects like the Jubilee flyovers at Ajah and Abule Egba, the transformation of the Ojodu Berger axis of the State, the establishment of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps and the disbursement of over N5billion loans by our Employment Trust Fund to our youths and women in SME’s.
We also recorded appreciable progress on other ongoing projects most of which are projected for completion and commissioning in the coming year 2018. Some of these iconic projects that readily come to mind include the 1.4km Pen Cinema Agege flyover, the Oshodi – International Airport Road project, the Oshodi Transport Interchange, Bus Parks, Depots and Shelters; all of which are components of our Bus Reform Project.
One of the projects identified for execution is the Onikan-Marina urban regeneration initiative intended to convert this axis into a Tourism hub. By the time we would be meeting next year, this area will be wearing a new look and our Club will be part of the tourism heart of Lagos.
The Lagos House Marina will be the Lagos History Centre, with a new Lagos Museum in-between the History Centre and the Heritage Centre for Leadership which will be located in the Presidential State House just handed over to the State Government.
Given the fact that 2018 will be last full fiscal year of this administration’s four year tenure, our major focus will be the completion of most of the ongoing projects. We will also pursue the objective of strengthening the financial base of our State through various measures aimed at boosting the States Internally Generated Revenue. We believe very strongly that this is achievable without necessarily increasing taxes but by widening the tax base and ensuring that all revenues due to the State are collected through technologically driven tax collection and management system.
Distinguished members of this prestigious club, we have good reasons to be very optimistic about what 2018 holds in stock for our State and every Lagosian. The commencement and realisation of some of our reform programmes especially in the Public Transport, Environment, Tourism and Health sectors will transform the landscape of the State and improve the quality of lives of all Lagosians.
All I can ask for is your continued support. The dream of a new Lagos which we all desire is unfolding and everybody here today has a role to play in this project. Our club has a large collection of professionals with wide and diverse expertise which can be put to work to take our country and our State to the next level. Our government is open to new ideas and partnerships, and we will welcome suggestions for better ways to do things and improve on service delivery to the people.
The Year 2018 would also witness the commencement of electioneering activities. I want to believe that we can count on your support and full-backing to ensure that our party, APC, remains at the helm of affairs in the State. I believe our modest achievements and ability to bring your dreams to reality have placed our government in strong position to seek your continued support.
We will continue to provide responsible and responsive leadership which is the hallmark of sustainable development in modern, functional and liveable cosmopolitan city like Lagos.
Once again, I thank the Chairman, Patrons, trustees and members of the Yoruba Tennis Club for your support for this administration in the last 31 months. I have no doubt that you will continue to support our development agenda for our dear State.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year 2018.