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Lagos to Prioritise More Developmental Projects – Commissioner

The Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, has stated that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration plans to prioritise more developmental projects across the State during its second term.

Speaking on a special Television Continental (TVC) interview programme “This Morning”, focused on Governor Sanwo-Olu’s Second Term Agenda”, Omotoso described Lagos as a victim of its success, noting that the influx of people to the State has affected its infrastructure and this has put a lot of pressure on the State to improve and build more developmental projects at a faster pace to remain the “Centre of Excellence”.

In his words, “Lagos State is the fastest growing economy in the world with a population of about 25 million. Lagos has 10 times the population of New York and Los Angeles and bigger than that of some African countries combined”, he said.

“The Smart City project in the State is ongoing through the installation of cameras in all parts of the State. This is in addition to the provision of the 6000km fibre optic cables to improve access to functional, efficient and affordable internet services with a focus on connecting all schools in the State to the internet. Also, the introduction of digital cameras by the State Traffic Radio has helped place Lagos as a smart city”.

Speaking on transportation and traffic management, the Commissioner spoke about the intermodal transportation system in the State and also asserted that the Sanwo-Olu administration has built 500 bridges, rehabilitated and commissioned 940 roads and provided 21 Lagos ferries on the waterways with 14 more Lag Ferries to be injected into the system soon.

Omotoso submitted that the fast electric Blue Line Rail from Marina to Mile 2 is running smoothly and takes 70 trips per day which has reduced the travel time of commuters drastically. He further explained that the second phase of the Blue Rail project from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko has started while the Red Line Rail project is nearing completion and its test run would begin immediately after commissioning.

“The Red Line Rail project is the regular train that would share a rail line with the Nigerian Rail Corporation (NRC) and would convey commuters from Agbado to Oyingbo with 13 Stations located in Agbado, Iju, Agege, Ikeja, MMIA International, MMIA Domestic, Oshodi, Mushin, Iddo, Yaba, Ebute Metta, Ebute Ero and Oyingbo. The overpass bridges in Oyingbo and Yaba have been commissioned and that of Ikeja would soon be commissioned for use by the general public”, he stated.

The Commissioner reiterated that Lagos State is made up of a young mobile population who are strong in the area of tech, entertainment and creativity which has made Lagos an economic hub that attracts investors to the country and the State. He revealed that Lagos is the first African State to be invited to the London Mayor’s Show and this enabled Mr. Governor, who is the Chairman of International Financial Cycle, to meet with foreign investors where he discussed the Lekki-Epe International Airport, Omu Creek, the Fourth Mainland Bridge, the Lagos State Food and Logistics projects and the need for them to invest in the State.

On Taxation and Internal Generated Revenue in the State, Omotoso averred that Lagos is not doing well as as it ought to do in the area of tax collection. “The tax ratio of Lagos is the lowest in the world and there are 6 million active taxpayers with 4.5 million real taxpayers and these are people that get their taxes deducted from their salaries,” he said.

He further explained that the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service is not trying to increase taxes but to expand the tax net so that taxes can be collected from citizens who are yet to be captured.

Regarding the issue of building collapse in Lagos State, the Commissioner said the incident has gone down and 90 per cent of the buildings that have been brought down by the State Government are illegal structures and buildings constructed on drainage channels.

He emphasised the need for people to get the right documents and building permits from government agencies such as Lagos State Physical Planning Authority (LASPPA) and Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) saddled with the responsibility before embarking on any construction. This, according to him, would help to monitor and reduce the spate of building collapse in the State.

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