By Dipo Olowookere Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has disclosed that not less than $30 billion is required to carry out about 30 capital projects in the state in the next five years. Mr Ambode made this disclosure on Monday when he spoke shortly before inaugurating a 12-member Economic Advisory Committee at the Lagos House, Ikeja. He said the projected figure represents about $6 billion per annum,\u00a0 whereas the provision for capital projects in the 2017 budget is pegged at N500 billion (about $1.6 billion). Alluding to the fact that the projection clearly shows that government alone cannot address the infrastructure deficit, the Governor said the inauguration of the Economic Advisory Committee was therefore a step in the right direction. \u201cIf Lagos was a country and we are the fifth largest economy in Africa, then we have to start thinking about the number five. In that regard, you must not think taxes of Lagos state citizens or IGR, you must create some kind of platform that would allow some other people who are outside to tell us how to run a country in a state. \u201cLet me crave your indulgence to present a picture of what we are confronted with. Our 2017 budget has earmarked about N500 billion (about $1.6 billion) as capital spend. Whereas our recent Infrastructure needs analysis shows that over $30 billion would be required to achieve the 30 most impactful projects for the state over the next five years (an average of $6 billion per annum). \u201cIt is evident that Government cannot address this from current resources. A key task of this Committee is therefore to provide specific advice on the overall finance strategy to bridge the massive infrastructure gap. I am therefore glad and privileged that nine competent and well respected Lagosians have accepted our request to serve in the Committee,\u201d he said. Highlighting some of the key functions expected of the Economic Advisory Team, Governor Ambode said they would be expected to bring an independent perspective on economic and business issues with a primary role of offering advice to his administration under the four strategic 2012-2025 Lagos State Development Plan (LSDP) pillars of Economic Development; Infrastructural Development; Social Development and Security as well as Sustainable Development. Mr Ambode said that whilst the Committee is independent and largely constituted by members from the private sector, the need for integration and collaboration to ensure that the views are taken on board necessitated in having three members of the State Executive Council, led by the Commissioner for Finance in the team. He expressed optimism that the Economic team would further expand his administration\u2019s all inclusive governance mantra and achieve the key objective of getting independent views on economic and business issues in delivering the mandate to the people. Governor Ambode later inaugurated renowned economist and Founder of Agusto & Co, Mr Olabode Agusto as the Chairman, while Commissioners for Finance, Mr Akinyemi Ashade; Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr Olawale Oluwo and Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mr Rotimi Ogunleye are members of the Committee. Other members include former Managing Director, Skye Bank, Mr Kehinde Durosinmi-Etti; former Country Senior Partner, PwC, Mr Kenneth Igbokwe; Founder\/CEO Bestman Games Ltd, Mrs Nimi Akinkugbe; Managing Partner, Dalmeida, Ogunlana & Co, Mrs Adenike Ogunlana; Managing Director, Vetiva Capital, Dr Laolu Mudashiru; former Minister of Science & Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson; Deputy Managing Director, Wema Bank Plc, Mr Moruf Oseni and Mrs Yetunde Akinloye who doubles as Secretary of the Committee. Responding on behalf of other members of the Committee, Mr Agusto assured that they would work diligently and focus on the priorities of the state government aimed at making life more comfortable for Lagosians. He noted that one of the major reasons why Lagos is making steady progress was the fact that businesses are thriving, adding that the Committee would take into cognizance the important role the private sector plays in that regard.