Lagos will use ICT to drive foreign investment – Abass

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LAGOS, NOVEMBER 23, 2016 – The Lagos State Government has resolved to harness the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to drive Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the state.

This was the resolution reached during a 3-day ease of doing business retreat organized by the Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment, also known as Lagos Global at the weekend in Badagry.

The maiden retreat comprises members of staff of the Office, relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, some members of the Lagos State House of Assembly and the Commissioner, Ministry of Science and Technology, Mr. Femi Odubiyi. The retreat also had in attendance a special delegation from Kogi State that came to understudy Lagos State on how to attract FDI.

Professor Ademola Abass, Special Adviser, Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment, said Lagos State, having emerged as an innovation hub in ICT, prompted the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, to pay the state a visit due to the boom in the industry.

He said Nigeria had the hiexplained ial media users and that potential investors were interested in this cluster to maximize profit.

Abass said the Lagos Smart City project promoted by the Lagos State Government was greatly inspired by the advancement in ICT which is to be relied upon to drive the 24-hour economy in Lagos under a secure atmosphere.

“This is to be achieved by delivering internet fibre directly to homes as against the use of dongles as it is at present. This also helps business to business as well as business to government interactions.

“Whenever investment is being considered, land is a major factor. With this internet penetration, issues on land matters or history of land transactions can be accessed online. Fake documents can be verified and this becomes an empowerment for the investor. This also directly increases the number of FDIs in terms of direct and indirect investment.

“This will be done by using electronic medium to get taxes paid, access information on documents, verify land documents, for the convenience of investors who may not be resident here in the country,” he explained.

Abass said ICT was the way to go in order to benchmark Lagos State with other advanced economies that had a working FDI process.

“Moreover, there is a total reduction in the cost of extracting information as against going from one MDA to another for the same purpose. This is where Lagos Global, as an Investment Promotion Agency removes the inconvenience of unnecessary effort,” he stated.

Abass, further said the state was rightly positioned to harness every available opportunity to attract FDI in order to make the state the most desirable investment destination in the world.

In line with the retreat theme: “Towards enhancing the ease of doing Business in Lagos State,” the special adviser said the aim of creating the one-stop shop was to enhance the ease of doing business in the state so as to create an enabling environment for investment to thrive.

He added that the state was determined to ensure that issues such as difficulty in tax payment, land issues, obtaining of permits and all other matters that an investor required to set up a successful business would be handled in the one-stop shop to reduce multi-agency handling of investment matters.

This, he said, would encourage potential investors establish their base in the state.

“Our goal is to develop our one-stop shop to one that will have all relevant stakeholders such as Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission, Lagos State Revenue Service, Lands Bureau, and every agency that has a service to render to an investor represented in the office, to fast track the process of setting up a business without having to visit their different locations before accessing the required services. This is our promise to Lagosians, realizable in the very short distance”, he explained.

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