I’ll transform Lagos to Africa’s tourism hub, ANDP guber hopeful pledges
BY FRANCIS EZEM
The Lagos State gubernatorial candidate of the Advanced National Democratic Party ANDP for the forthcoming 2019 election, Dr. Segun Musa has said he would fully take advantage of the aquatic splendour status the state is known for by transforming it into a tourism hub for the African Continent if elected the governor come next year.
Musa, who is a former chairman of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport chapter of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders NAGAFF, while speaking with some members of the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria MARAN in Lagos, took a swipe at the past leaderships in the state for failing harness and utilise the tourism potential of the state over time.
According to him, as a coastal state with vast length of navigable inland waterways, Lagos has all it takes to compete favourably with Dubai, which is a desert in terms of tourism potential, but regretted that past and present crop of leaders in the state have failed in identifying and harnessing this tourism potential, which would have elevated the state’s economy to an enviable height.
He said: “Past and present governors of Lagos State are busy sand- filling the waters in the state in order to build commercial housing estates but unknown to them is the fact revenue from housing estates would not be as much as 10 per cent compared to the revenue that would come from water transport and tourism in addition to creating lots of jobs.
“What I am saying here is not that providing affordable housing for the teeming residents of the state is not good. Rather I mean that we would create more jobs by developing the water transport systems and tourism of the state rather than over-burdening them with double taxes in a desperate bid to grow revenue for the government”.
He insisted that he is conscious of the United Nations projections that most mega cities across the world would grow by over 20 per cent in the next 10-15 years, which tells anyone aspiring to govern a city like Lagos that adequate preparations must be made for the provision of affordable housing infrastructure for the growing population.
“It is also a pointer to the fact that there is urgent need to develop multimodal transport systems in the state, which connect the waterways and other forms of transportation in the state to reduce the pressure on the roads with the attendant high cost of maintenance and gridlocks that lead to loss of man hour, death and generally slow business activities in the state”, he argued.
As part of efforts to enhance water transportation in the state, he promised to create an enabling environment for the private sector operators to invest in the acquisition of large cruise boats and pontoons by building modern jetties in Badagry, Lekki and Ikorodu, which would drastically reduce the current pressure on the roads.
Describing corporate bodies and residents as most heavily taxed, he noted that because past leaders in the state lacked vision and foresight, the only for them to boost the Internally Generated Revenue IGR of the state is by imposing multiplicity of taxes, a development that has helped to kill many businesses with the attendant increasing level of unemployment not only in the state but also across the Nigerian nation.
On the Wharf Landing Fee, currently imposed on all imported consignments exiting the seaports in Lagos, the ANDP gubernatorial hopeful, described it as illegal, saying it represents one of multiple taxes imposed by the state and pledged to scrap it if elected governor next year.