To accommodate over 18 million people, a number that is still growing, the Lagos State, Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said the state government needs about $60 billion to realize its plan of transforming the state into one of the mega cities of the 21st century.
The Commissioner made this known on Wednesday in Lagos while hosting members of the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), Lagos chapter, in his Ikeja office.
He stated that businesses thrive better in an economy where there is adequate provision of social and infrastructural facilities, adding that this remained the goal of the Lagos State government.
“We realize that when you develop infrastructure, businesses are able to operate better and so on. For example, if you look at the Lekki-Epe Expressway that was tolled, I am sure people here have different views, but in meeting the stakeholders, one of the things we were able to put forward is that, the truth of the matter is, we have been able to cost what we actually need to get all our infrastructure in the state that we desire.”
He said that this would cost about $60 billion.
“The truth is that we don’t have the $60 billion. The budget of Lagos State is about $2.5 billion. But when you look at the city of New York, the Fire Depart budget alone is about $6 billion and in New York City, they have about 11 million people. In Lagos, we have about 18 million so you can see the gap. What I am trying to say is that all around the world, development and infrastructure are directly correlated, there is no two ways about it.”
He said the governor of the state, Mr Babatunde Fashola, was determined to see that the state is not left behind in terms of infrastructural development, adding that this was why the state has been executing projects to provide basic amenities.
“When Governor Babatunde Fashola was sworn in said that we must renew our infrastructure and build more and that one of the challenges is for us to plan ahead of time and make sure that we understand the circle of our country, we have raining season, we have dry season, so that we maximize the dry season so that we can build more. One of the things that we also have to do is that we have engineers who are not here but are consultants to us and they are helping us in doing this work.”
Hamzat stated that the ministry has been able to record some success story due to the presence of some experienced female engineers, adding that the ministry would do everything to support the association to ensure that it achieved its goals.
In her response, the APWEN chairman in the state, Engr. Felicia Agubata, stated that the mission of the association is to stimulate women engineers to achieve excellence in the profession and in leadership. She said that APWEN provides the avenue for promoting women’s interest in the profession.
She said: ” Our mission is to stimulate women engineers to achieve excellence in the profession. We encourage sound engineering practice and create the platform by which women engineers can collaborate with women across all professions and discipline”.