By Dipo Olowookere
Total upgrade of schools in Lagos State, especially in the slum areas, would soon be carried out by the state government.
This was disclosed at the weekend after an intensive three-day retreat for members of the State Executive Council and legislators from the Senate, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly, held at the Eko Hotels and Suites in Victoria Island, with the theme, “Good Governance In A Recession.”
The government also promised to evolve a robust youth and senior citizens’ policy by January 2017, noting that there was need to upgrade the quality of schools through training and re-training of teachers, as well as improving the infrastructure.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the retreat and read by Senator representing Lagos West Senatorial District, Mr Olamilekan Solomon Adeola, the government said participants were unanimous in their resolution to improve the standard of education across the State, particularly in slum areas.
Mr Adeola said participants also resolved to evolve a robust Youth Policy that would include active Private Sector Partnership and also fast-track the development of a Senior Citizens’ Policy, both of which would be implemented from January 2017.
He said participants also recognised the role of government as an ‘enabler’ and to create frameworks and strategies to further accelerate the growth of the State’s economy.
“Participants also reaffirmed the vision of this administration to make life better and more meaningful for the people of Lagos and also enshrine the doctrine of ‘inclusive governance’ in the government of the State and foster collaboration amongst the three arms of government,” Mr Adeola said.
In the area of improving revenue generation, Mr Adeola said participants agreed that the State Government must work towards increasing its tax base rather than increase in the tax rate(s).
He said aside the fact that participants agreed that there was need to evolve a better approach of financing the State’s budget as against the traditional methods, they also resolved that efforts should be redoubled towards reducing the dependence on Federal Allocation and increasing the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to a target of N30billion monthly in 2017 and N50billion monthly in 2018, as well as meeting the target of yearly budget size of N1trillion commencing from 2019.
According to him, “Participants also agreed to encourage private investments towards accelerating growth in the Tourism and Hospitality sector for sustainable job creation and increased revenue generation.
“They also acknowledged the need to promote accelerated improvements in the infrastructure of the State with particular emphasis on integrated transportation system and sustainable solid waste management system by overhauling and rebranding the sectors in collaboration with the private sector.”
On the health sector, Mr Adeola said participants resolved to fast-track the implementation of the recently passed Lagos State Health Insurance Law to provide the necessary financial resources for sustainable development of health infrastructure as well as the promotion of medical tourism in the State.
The Senator also said participants resolved to evolve and promote competitive communalism strategy in fostering sustainable economic development of the State and also further encourage citizens’ participation and input in the planning, implementation and monitoring of the budgetary process.
“Participants acknowledged the historic burden the country’s current economic challenges placed on Lagos and in order to promote good governance, participants resolved to approach the challenges with greater commitment guided by the vision and mission of the Lagos State Government,” he said.