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Sanwo-Olu: You Never Really Know A State’s True Finances Until You Become Its CEO

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Babajide Sanwo-Olu

Today, I was on stage with Pastor Poju Oyemade at #ThePlatformNG. The theme of the event is “Redesigning the Nigerian Economy with New Ideas” which resonates perfectly with our vision #ForAGreaterLagos.

New and fresh ideas are important. They are the only way we can reinvent the future. Governance is a marathon, not a sprint and as a proud Lagosian, I took this job because I believe in our vision of building a greater and more developed Lagos.

You will never know the true finances of a state until you become its Chief Executive. And as governor, my first task has been finding ways to allocate the available resources to the short, medium and long term plan we have for Lagos.

Our state budget hovers around $2 billion and we have a local debt ratio of about 20-25%. Comparing Lagos to major global city states shows we are not close to where we need to be but as a beacon in Nigeria and indeed Africa, we must build what is required.

As a government we can do a lot more, most times citizens do not care about the ingredients for the meal but only the finished product. The reality is that there are a lot of things happening in the backroom and Lagosians will definitely see results.

Between the last time I was at an event by the same organisers, we have made strides in a lot of our promises from traffic to health to waste management and other sectors. Our decision to first focus on leadership and structure across the state is already paying dividends.

Our strategy is sector specific. In education, we are restructuring teacher hiring, training and other requirements. We need about 3,000 to 4,000 teachers before the end of the year but first we are focusing on how to improve the learning outcomes in schools.

We have a metropolitan fibre initiative that we have launched that is taking fibre to our schools, hospitals and public buildings. It is a tech and education enabling platform for us as we continue to position Lagos.

On health, we are making progress. We are attracting funding to our health sector like never before in Lagos. Within these first 100 plus days we have completed and opened primary and secondary health facilities in Eti Osa and Alimosho LGAs.

Our focus in improving health for women and children remains deliberate. Our plan for health insurance remains on course and we have been deliberate about the healthcare members of cabinet in our state.

In healthcare, we need more specialised workers, we need more biomedical technicians. We recognise the issues with getting qualified personnel and we are working with our educational institutions to solve this.

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