Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Tuesday, February 23, 2016, expressed optimism that the foreign exchange crisis plaguing the country which has resulted in Naira depreciating considerably low against the Dollar is solvable, but that the country must look inward and start to embrace massive local manufacturing of products and local ownership of businesses.
Governor Ambode said the deficiency which Nigeria is currently experiencing in the economy, as a result of the forex challenges, was a pointer to the fact that all hands must be on deck to carry out some kind of structural adjustment on the economy and encourage the manufacturing of products needed by Nigerians in Nigeria.
The Governor spoke at the Lagos House in Ikeja while playing host to the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr. Nicolas Vervelde, who was on a courtesy visit with senior management staff of the company to the State House.
Governor Ambode stated that the Nigerian Breweries has shown a very good example of encouraging local ownership of businesses, especially with the transformation of Lagos Breweries of the company to a totally Nigerian outfit, urging other foreign investors in the country to look toward such direction.
He commended the strategies adopted so far by President Muhammadu Buhari to address the challenges confronting the economy, and solicited the support of all Nigerians in ensuring the success of the current efforts of the Federal Government.
He said: “The issues at stake are more about a short term deficiency that we are experiencing in the economy. We don’t believe that the issue of foreign exchange will last forever and it is something that is solvable, but then, it is a pointer to the fact that there has to be some kind of structural adjustment in this economy and everybody has to start to look inward.
“The Lagos breweries of the Nigerian Breweries Plc is a hundred percent Nigerian outfit which is the kind of examples that we expect from businesses to ensure that we start to create a structure that allows Nigerians to own businesses by ourselves and do things that are made in Nigeria so that we can free up as much as possible the forex that we demand all the time and that is why we all are committed to supporting President Buhari in the things that he is doing, which we know that ultimately in the medium term, a lot of Nigerians will appreciate what is being done,” Governor Ambode said.
The Governor also reiterated the commitment of his administration to always create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive, especially by placing much priority on the safety of lives and property and improving the infrastructure in the state.
“We know that if we have a safer Lagos, it creates more opportunities for your investment to thrive and it also creates job opportunities for our people and within that context, we will be able to get more revenue as taxes and also improve upon infrastructure and allow the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Lagos to grow and so we have that commitment that we will improve on whatever it is that we are doing and ensure ease of doing business,” he said.
Earlier, Mr. Vervelde said with the massive efforts being put in place by Governor Ambode, Lagos is now safe and secured for business.
“Let me commend you Mr. Governor for the things business owners and Lagosians are seeing in Lagos. Apapa congestion has been solved; road traffic control has improved and is visible for everybody; it has enhanced safety and security and of course those things are very important and conducive for setting up a positive business environment”.
The Nigerian Breweries boss later sought the assistance of Governor Ambode in looking into the issue of people residing under the bridge behind the Lagos Breweries, saying such might constitute safety and environmental risk.
He also invited Governor Ambode to find time to visit the Lagos Breweries which he said has state-of-the-art equipment which are of worldwide standard; two requests which the Governor promised to address quickly.
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