By Lucy Osuizigbo
Lagos – Impressed by the massive investment of the Lagos State Government in urban renewal and infrastructure, the World Bank said on Saturday that it would facilitate and mobilise the private sector to partner with the state government on the projects.
Mr Joaquim Levy, the Managing Director/Group Chief Financial Officer, gave the assurance in Lagos when he led the World Bank Group on a courtesy visit to the Deputy Governor, Dr Idiat Adebule.
Levy said Lagos State had shown commitment in mobilising the private sector and civil society organisations to drive development and improve the standard of living of the people.
According to him, developed countries have been able to grow and sustain their economies through the adoption of public-private partnership.
“Though, we have been working with Lagos State for many years, but we came to Nigeria to see how the private sector is performing so we can fashion out new ways to accelerate development in the country.
“In Nigeria, Lagos State has been leading in many aspects like transportation, agriculture, environmental management, education, infrastructure and other developmental projects.
“We are very happy that the government is striving to directly impact on the lives of its citizens and the World Bank has come to further assist the government in some other challenging sectors such as the energy sector.
“We are willing to assist the government and mobilise the private sector to help the government accelerate its urban renewal and infrastructural development to improve the living condition of the people,” Levy said.
Levy lauded Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode for providing and mobilising resources to drive government activities in terms of development, saying “the people are seeing the results”.
In her remarks, he deputy governor, who received the group on behalf of the state governor, said positive partnership was key to the development of any nation.
She said the state government was ready to partner with the World Bank and the private sector to further boost and develop all the sectors of the economy.
Adebule urged the group to also consider healthcare, environmental management, tourism, education, agriculture, energy and transportation as possible areas of collaboration.
She said:“Your partnership with us in the past years has been very tremendous and we look forward to more of such collaborations, especially in some challenging sectors.
“The government is judiciously expending the internally generated revenue to drive development, but more still needs to be done like in the area of potable water.
‘“Only 30 per cent of the people in the state have access to potable water and we need to really increase access to water.
“The energy sector, education and water transportation are our areas of challenge and we need your assistance to surmount them,.”
Adebule also appealed to the World Bank to intervene in the country’s exchange rate crises as a world financial body to get the country out of its economic challenges and put it back on the path of growth.