Lagos State Government has expressed readiness to partner Austria in areas of mutual interest in order to create investment opportunities, jobs and reduce unemployment.
The State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade disclosed this on Wednesday at a meeting with the visiting Austrian Vice Minister for Foreign Economic Policy and European Integration, Mrs. Bernadette Gierlinger at the Secretariat, Alausa.
He emphasized that the present administration was desirous of taking advantage of technology by using the Austria’s vocational studies model to reduce unemployment in the State, adding that the opportunities inherent in solid waste management and transportation, especially the need for the development of rail and water modes of transportation to complement road transport system can jointly be harnessed.
According to the Commissioner, other areas of mutual interest include investments in waste to energy programme which is aimed at encouraging Lagosians to sort and sell their waste products rather than dumping them indiscriminately to degrade the environment.
While noting that about $3billion was required for water development projects in the state, Ashade highlighted the potentials in waste water management which however requires huge investment.
The Commissioner opined that the plan by the present administration to increase electricity supply to every part of the state using solar, wind and hydro plants will go a long way to unbundle the potentials of Lagos, urging the Austrian Government to make haste to partner with the State Government as the investment world is already focusing on the State.
Earlier, Mrs. Bernadette Gierlinger said that Nigeria was one of the economically promising nations, stressing that as soon as electricity and transportation problem improves in the country, Nigeria will be best hub for investment and production activities.
She said her visit was to explore ways to diversify the produce of Austria as well as partner with the Lagos State Government in such areas of mutual interest like construction, tourism, environmental technology, energy efficiency and vocational training which has made Austria one of the countries with the least unemployment rate.
The Vice Minister said she was impressed by the Lagos State Development Plan (LSDP), describing it as a detailed visionary document capable of hastening the development of the State if implemented faithfully.
While commending the Eko Atlantic project as a worthy investment, Gierlinger noted that Lagos and Austria have a lot in common and as such both can share in the experience of each other especially in the areas of urban migration, urbanization and climate change.
Top government officials present at the meeting which is expected to produce a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the next three months include the Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mr. Babatunde Durosimi-Etti, his Science and Technology counterpart, Mr. Adeboye Odubiyi and the Special Adviser, Lagos Global Prof. Ademola Abass amongst others.