(1) Today, Lagos is the only state in Nigeria that can survive without federal allocation and crude oil receipts but alas, it is nowhere near uhuru. For all its dynamism and vibrancy, Lagos is nowhere near other global financial centres like New York, Tokyo, London, Frankfurt, Kuala Lumpur and Sao Paulo
(2) Lagos State currently accounts for about 30% of Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) with an economy of about $100bn. As far back as 2015, internally generated revenue (IGR) in Lagos State stood at $1.3bn, three times more than the state with the second most IGR and 39% of the Nigerian total. We have to build on this my people
(3) Tokyo for instance has a GDP of $1.6trn, while New York’s GDP is $1.4trn. Basically, if you need capital for investment in Japan or the US, you go to the financial districts of Tokyo or New York with your investment plans. In Nigeria, because money is given freely from oil receipts, no due diligence is done, hence why many infrastructural projects get abandoned halfway after millions have been spent on them
(4) Currently, Nigerian banks charge as much as 25% interest on loans. I would like to see a special Lagos State Financial Act passed into law under which all loans handed out within the state have a cap of 5%. This could spur unprecedented socio-economic development across Nigeria
(5) For instance, if the Cross River State government wants to dredge Calabar port they come to the Lagos financial district for a loan, if the Niger State government wants to open a cattle ranch they come to Lagos for a loan and if Mambilla State wants to open a wildlife reserve it comes to Lagos for a loan. Just imagine how this would increase efficiency as state governments would have to justify their expenditure with proper development plans and a repayment timetable
(6) This would also end the massive corruption we are currently witnessing across Nigeria because it is impossible to steal private sector funds and get away with it. Banks will drag you before every court in the land to recover their money unlike in the public sector where you can get away with murder
(7) In Kuala Lumpur for instance, the economy grows at a rate of about 7% a year, compared with the Malaysian average of about 5%. Between 2010 and 2019, annual foreign direct investment in Kuala Lumpur averaged about $37bn. This has got to be the target in Lagos
(8) Brazil’s city of São Paulo is adopting this approach too investing its R700bn ($126bn) in the country’s 5,570 other municipalities. Like Nigeria, Brazil had a street urchin problem as bad as our almajiri crisis but this financial model helped resolve it
(9) At the moment, Nigeria’s economic policies defy all logic. They represent what Arthur Scargill once described as “Economics of the mad house.” Why indebt yourself to the IMF, World Bank and Chinese commercial banks when you can build up your own financial centre that can offer loans at more comfortable rates?
(10) As part of this radical Lagos rebirth programme, I would like to see many of the heavy industries move to neighbouring states and Lagos metropolis become more of a financial centre. This will also help depopulate Lagos State, which is groaning under the weight of 22m residents. For me, the first capital project that should be funded under this programme should be the Lagos Underground Metro Network.