· “New electricity players, regulators, consumers, will get a shared and better understanding of expectations and priorities”, he says
The 14th Lagos Economic Summit will focus on strategies for accelerating sustained growth in the State’s Economy especially through the creation of a vibrant and cost effective Power Sector, the State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Ben Akabueze has said.
Akabueze, who spoke as Chairman of the Lagos Economic Summit Group (LESG) at the last meeting of the Central Organizing Committee to set the agenda for the next Summit, said the objective informed the choice of the theme for the 2014 edition of the Summit which, according to him, is “Powering the Lagos Economy: Real Opportunities, Endless Possibilities”.
The LESG Chairman, who noted with dismay that lack of electricity has been the biggest constraint to the economy of both the State and the country as a whole, was delighted at the recent takeover of the Power assets and establishment of a Private Sector led industry adding that the Summit would provide a great opportunity for various stakeholders to get together for mutual benefit.
“The transition of the electricity industry from public to a private driven one naturally provides opportunity for various stakeholders to brainstorm on mutually benefitting issues that will arise from the transformation”, the Commissioner said.
Reiterating that the major goal was to provide cross-fertilization of ideas with a view to accelerating rapid and sustained economic growth in the State, Akabueze stated the envisaged outcome of the Summit to include making new electricity players, regulators, consumers and other key stakeholders get “a shared and better understanding of expectations and priorities”.
“This should aid the strategic planning and implementation process”, the LESG Chairman said adding that the Summit would also enable consumers and stakeholders get a better sense of challenges, issues and timing of changes for planning purposes while the Government would also get a good input for planning and have a better understanding of how changes and policy can enable good economic growth.
According to him, “the Summit will also create a forum for businesses, government, consumers and regulators to exchange ideas towards addressing potential roadblocks, accelerating sustainable economic growth and delivering superior returns to investors as well as attract venture capital, new investors and businesses to gain insights into emerging opportunities”.
On issues to be discussed at the Summit, Akabueze said prominent among them would be the identification of the areas where Power has the greatest multiplier effect such as Agriculture businesses and produce value chain, Transportation businesses and service delivery, provision of affordable Housing, Real Estate business and planning and how the cross-cutting emerging business opportunities enabled by Power intervention could be tapped.
The Summit would also discuss strategies for making electricity work for the people by creating incentives for economic growth in the provision of effective public and personal security through Power intervention, Power needs of Primary/Basic Healthcare facilities and service providers in Lagos and how to satisfy the Power needs of an effective public education and skills acquisition sector, the Commissioner said.
Other relevant questions for which answers would be sought at the summit, he said, include, “How can Government support the improvement of water supply through wide and effective distribution of Power, how does improving electricity help with development of smart city technologies and how should smart city technologies be rolled out in terms of timing, geographies and so on, given the likely pace of electricity service improvement and what are the emerging business opportunities in a smart city environment?”
“Priority will also be on energizing the industrial sector especially the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), how industrial estates and clusters can be prioritized for improved Power delivery and what emerging business opportunities can be harnessed as Power supply improves across the industries”, the Commissioner said.
HAKEEM BELLO, CHAIRMAN AND MEDIA SUB-COMMITTEE