Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lagos GDP reaches N3.86tn

The Central Office of Statistics in the Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget on Monday said the Gross Domestic Product for the state had reached N3.68tn ($29.028bn) as at the end of 2007.

The figure, according to a statement released by the ministry, represents 17.5 per cent of Nigeria‘s GDP, which stands at N24.5tn ($165.69bn).

The statement said Lagos was the single largest contributor among the states in the country.

It attributed this achievement to the sustained efforts by the government in transforming the state‘s infrastructure.

It further disclosed that the figure produced by the ministry corroborated the ranking of Lagos by the City Mayors Review as the 6th among African cities and 118th among cities of the world.

Commenting on the figure, the state Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Ben Akabueze, noted that the computation of the GDP was an essential part of the administration‘s commitment to effectively monitor the level of economic growth and well-being of its people.

He said the GDP was equal to that of Kenya and greater than those of Cameroon, Cote d‘lvoire and Ghana, adding that this development would enhance the state‘s economic profile internationally.

Akabueze, who presented the result of the computation during the review of the 2008 budget performance, stated that the ministry would continue to monitor budget performance and assist ministries, departments, and agencies to realise the set goals of government.

Commenting on the 71.5 per cent performance of the 2008 budget, he said the meeting was held to jointly explore the possibilities of realising the 90 per cent minimum budget performance benchmark set by the Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola.

He also disclosed that the government had adopted a nine-sector classification of functions of government in line with international standard while adopting best practices in both the preparation and management of the 2009 budget.

He further said that there was a need for people to take tax payment seriously since it was the principal way by which government sourced funds to execute programmes and policies.

The Commissioner insisted that the government, had not introduced new taxes or rates, but will enforce the relevant laws.

He also noted and commended the going tread of voluntary tax payment by Lagosians, as evidenced by the increasing number of people embracing self-assessment.

Fashola To Deploy Copters Against Robbers

Fashola To Deploy Copters Against Robbers

Fashola says the state would not relax because it is winning the war against crime and that it would provide the helicopters to beef up security in the state. The governor made this known at a dinner for corporate organisations and individuals who have contributed immensely to the Security Trust Funds (STF).

“One of the things we want to do is to provide dedicated helicopters, not only to deal with emergencies, but also to chase down undesirable elements who have taken our waterways as escape routes sensing that escaping through the streets have become very difficult. Indeed, we are at the threshold of unleashing our Water Transportation Services and this is probably the way to begin to react in a pro-active, rather than reactive, way,” he stated.

According to the governor, “as we get increasingly technological in our programme, security challenges will continue to get increasingly more complex and we must be proactive rather than reactive. The problem of security is not only that of the banks but a collective one.”

On the proposed launch of the Close-Circuit Television (CCTV), the governor said it would provide the government the opportunity to assist the police in a most contemporary fashion. He said the CCTV became necessary for the police in the battle against crime because “the Nigeria police is not getting larger and so Lagos state is not likely to have more police officers in the foreseeable future.

“So, we are going to rely on about 33,000 police officers spread over eight area commands and 34 divisional headquarters, to about 18 million people. On the overage, it amounts to a ratio of one police officer to 600 people.”

Fashola, however, said the launch of the STF has reduced crime rate drastically in the state, saying that Lagos state is now one of the safest cities in Africa.

“Lagos is today one of the safest cities, not just in Nigeria, but on the continent. The statistics are there, the records are there in the public domain. The security situation in the state today is far better than it was 20 months ago.

“I remember how Lagos was in the first seven days after I became governor, that I was daily visiting the hospitals in an unchanging pattern to see those who had received gunshot wounds or homes of families who had lost their relations as a result of armed robbery. That was how bad it was then. But, today, the situation is different,” he stated.

Fashola warned on the danger of relaxing because of the victory against crime in the state, saying “we also want to bring us to a reality check with the new challenges that come with successes because we have taken an economy, an illegal economy from criminals and I do not think they will give up lightly. “Therefore, we cannot afford to assume that the job is done,” he said, while urging the people to donate more to the fund.

“Although there is global economic meltdown and general downturn in business, no business will even thrive when there is no security. As entrepreneurs, as citizens, I say we have made tremendous successes but there are challenges ahead.”

He said the fund has set new targets and new challenges not only in terms of policing the state, but also in the ability to respond to emergencies that threaten the day-to-day life of the people, such as accidents, disasters, explosions and other such emergencies which could happen in any city.