Lagos: Sanwo-Olu, Swedish envoy discuss clean energy as Japanese ambassador visits on trade, circular economy

L-R: Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs Annika Hahn-Englund and Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu 
L-R: Commissioner for Finance, Dr Rabiu Olowo; Trade Promotions Officer for Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon, Embassy of Sweden Mrs Chinakah Kristiansson; Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs Annika Hahn-Englund; Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Folasade Jaji; Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Sam Egube and Swedish Honorary Consul in Lagos, Mr Philip Akesson during a courtesy visit to the Governor at Lagos House, Marina, on Friday, May 12, 2023.

Japan Ambassador to Nigeria, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi presented with a plaque by Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu (r) during a courtesy visit to the Governor
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu flanked by Japan Ambassador to Nigeria, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi (left), Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Folasade Jaji (right) with entourage of the Ambassador and some members of the State Executives during a courtesy visit to the Governor at Lagos House, Marina, on Friday, May 12, 2023.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Friday, said Lagos State Government was not unaware of the emerging issues surrounding operations of public transportation, disclosing that plans were underway towards strengthening safety and improving transport infrastructure to give commuters new experience. 

The governor said sustenance of an efficiently run intermodal public transportation network remains a critical component of his administration’s economic agenda. He stressed that the state had adopted an energy policy that would enable the state-run transport agencies to diversify to clean energy use and lower carbon emissions.

The clean energy initiative, the governor said, has been a top agenda of the State government, noting that the State was ready for more investment and partnership to raise capacity in the use of clean energy for solutions in mobility services in the state.

Sanwo-Olu spoke when he received the ambassador of Sweden to Nigeria and other ECOWAS States, Ms. Annika Hahn-Englund, on a courtesy call at the State House, Marina.

The governor also hosted the ambassador of Japan to Nigeria, Mr. Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, on bilateral talks.

Sanwo-Olu reiterated the State’s commitment to existing bilateral partnerships with the Swedish government and trade organisations in the Scandinavian nation, pointing out that the ongoing feasibility study of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) operational capacity by a Swedish firm would result in development of solutions to reduce accidents.

Sanwo-Olu said: “Sustainability of our investment in transportation infrastructure and services is critical to driving more innovation into the sector. This will also translate to how seamlessly we diversify from our use of fossil fuels to clean energy that will reduce emissions as well as improving the quality of the environment. We are currently engaged in providing modern infrastructure around three transportation models, which are waterways, road and rail.

“We are not unaware of the effects these means of public mobility have on the environment. Efforts are already in place to ensure sustainable development and create an eco-friendly environment. That is why the State Government signed a MoU with Oando Energy firm to test electric vehicles for public transportation. The proof of concept is underway and it will give us clear direction on what is required both on the infrastructure end and the mobility side of it.”

Sanwo-Olu said further: “As a government, we are working on all of the options. We also have a relationship with Scania AB and TML on data gathering towards ensuring the safety of the passengers using our services. We need more symbiotic partnerships in this sector, not a handout. This is a conversation in which we both can identify what the needs should be. With partnership, we can develop a win-win relationship.”

The governor told the Swedish envoy that Lagos was ready to sustain its economic cooperation with the Scandinavian country, adding that the State would continue “robust” attendance of Swedish-Nordic Connect, a socio-cultural event yearly organised by the European nation. 

He said Lagos remained open for more Swedish investment opportunities, while giving assurance that Nigeria’s commercial city would continue to initiate policies that would ease restrictions on foreign investment.

Hahn-Englund thanked the governor for prioritising economic cooperation with her country. 

She said the SWED Fund for LAMATA would help Lagos create a more sustainable transportation infrastructure network, adding that a feasibility study by a Swedish firm, Sensys Gasto Group, was in the pipeline to promote road safety.

The envoy added that the Swedish company would be developing a project with the Lagos Government where the State would develop a system that would register and send out violations, and monitor fine payment.

On his part, the Japanese envoy, Kazuyoshi, said his visit to the governor was to expand Lagos-Japan cooperation.

He said his country had been working with the State Government and some Nigerian firms to develop a circular economy for Lagos, adding that Japan was poised to increase its investments in Lagos by bringing more trade partners.

Kazuyoshi said: “Lagos is the entry point for trade inflow into Nigeria and Japan fully understands the potential of the Nigerian market; we are confident to raise the market volume for both countries.”

Other partnerships discussed by the Japanese ambassador included cooperation on electricity generation, skill transfer, exchange programme, sports and tourism, according to a press statement issued by Gboyega Akosile, chief press secretary to the Lagos State governor.

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