Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said that the State withstood the attendant effects of the Coronavirus pandemic through strategic planning and rejigging of the economy to meet the demands of its residents.
The Governor made the submission on Thursday, through the Honourable Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Sam Egube, at the 10th Annual Public Lecture of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN), Lagos State Public Service Chapter, themed: “The Global Economic Realities of COVID-19 Pandemic: Lagos State as a Case Study”.
According to him, “The State Government realised early that the pandemic was not going to be about health alone in the long run but that of the economy. We understood that the economic pandemic, which COVID-19 will be bringing was going to outlast the health pandemic, as such, we had to make necessary adjustments where necessary”.
“Our administration had already taken cognisance that the world economy is going to be affected as a result of the pandemic, as supply chain and production was going to be adversely affected, which will in effect put a clog in the wheel of the government’s drive to keep up employment”, he added.
Sanwo-Olu stated that the government had to intervene by ensuring that food security was tackled as a strong candidate response to the pandemic, creation of safety nets, economic intervention in the area of businesses as sources of livelihood are going to be hit and the empowerment of vulnerable, among others.
He stated that the administration had to review the budget in order to stimulate the economy and mitigate the effect of the pandemic by focusing more on infrastructure development as construction requires labour, which encourages employment as well as massive investment in the agricultural sector.
The Governor said the review of the budget was not a direct cut down of budget but redirecting the budget to create an effect and outcome to stimulate employment, to support small and medium businesses and to ensure that the pandemic is being tackled effectively.
Also speaking at the event, the Accountant-General and Permanent Secretary, State Treasury Office, Dr. Abiodun Muritala, noted that the State Government was already proactive before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing that the administration of Governor Babajide Olusola was very forward-looking and strategic in its positioning and plans.
He added that the State Government already had a contingency plan in place in case of any emergency, hence the impact of COVID-19 was minimal on all the sectors of the State.
In his words: “The level of preparedness on the part of the present administration enabled the government to make a lot of quick decisions, with the aid of technology and the full backing of the cabinet members, to salvage the State’s economy”.
The President of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN), Dame Joy Adewuyi, in her goodwill address at the lecture, stated that the theme of the public lecture is timely as it will help to readjust to the economic realities of COVID-19, adding that it might take a long time for business to return back to normal.
The Chairman of the Lagos State Chapter of ICAN, Mr. George Olaniyan stated that the lecture will afford members the opportunity to enhance their skills in conformity with global best accounting practices.