The governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu yesterday held consultative talks with the operators of the Alaba International Market, Auto Spare Parts and Machinery Dealers Association (ASPAMDA), BBA Trade Fair, Alaba Fancy and Furniture Dealers, and Electrical Dealers Association of Nigeria (EDAN.
The parley which was coordinated by the managing director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo centred around improving the infrastructure, security and quality of lives around the markets.
Addressing the media after the meeting, the governor said the discussion was aimed at fostering collaboration with the traders and to carry them along in the plans by the government.
He said he was satisfied with the conditions under which businesses were conducted in the markets but expressed disappointment with the state of roads and absence of relevant public facilities around markets.
The governor said he would fulfill his campaign promises to the traders by investing in infrastructure to improve the quality of lives and commercial activities in the area.
“We have just finished an interactive meeting with the leaders of various markets around Alaba, ASPAMDA, Trade Fair areas in Lagos West Senatorial District and the discussion was coordinated by our friend in the banking sector, Fidelity Bank. We all agreed that we all have roles to play to address infrastructure and other challenges around the markets.
“As a government, we are taking up the responsibility to design an all-inclusive model that will improve the economic wellbeing of the people around the markets. Once we put infrastructure in place, not only would businesses flourish, employment will also be created,” he said.
Aside constructing network of roads with the vicinity of the markets, Sanwo-Olu said the government would, in the long run provide amenities, including fire stations, clinics, general hospitals and security to aid commercial activities in the markets.
He also announced that leaders in the various markets had agreed to work with the government on documenting all businesses in their respective jurisdictions to facilitate easy payment and collection of taxes for developmental purposes.
“We had conversations around being socially responsible. So, we will see the traders living up to the expectations in terms of doing what they are meant to be doing to support government in the areas of taxes, wages and levies.
“We also want to eliminate multiple taxations; any agency that is not meant to be around the market will be stopped.
“We also discussed security issues, and I assured that government would help to improve on the security of lives and properties in the area and the state in general.
“We will address the menace of Okada riders all around those markets. We will also ensure that the work that is going on around Lagos-Badagry Expressway is well coordinated, so that they can have some relief at various periods of the day, even when construction is going on,” he added.
Furthermore, Sanwo-Olu said the meeting was not a one-off stressing that the chairmen of local councils where traders operate would be invited to subsequent discussions before the start of regeneration work across the markets.
In his remarks, Okonkwo praised the governor partnering with the market leaders to drive the regeneration programme.
He also lauded Sanwo-Olu for understanding the importance of “engagement in leadership.”
“Fidelity Bank was one of the first banks to open in the area and we understand their challenges from the extensive engagements we do have with them. We bank most of them and when there are issues we come together to interact and find solutions. This is exactly the approach that Governor Sanwo-Olu is using today.
“The governor has outlined a course of action and we also use our knowledge of their needs and working in collaboration with the government to come up with a model that will work for all stakeholders.
The traders are ready to take this collaboration to the end and make sure they have better market conditions so when they want to pay their taxes, they will pay them happily,” he said.
Also speaking, the president general of Alaba Amalgamated, Mr. Fabian Ezeojika, described the deliberations as “fruitful” and promised to mobilise the traders to respect the agreement made with the state government.