London — Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, SAN, yesterday said the state would return to the capital market early next year, to raise N150 billion worth of bonds to develop its infrastructure.
Fashola, who spoke in London, at the on going Sub-Saharan Africa conference, organised by the Renaissance Group, said arrangements for the bonds have reached an advanced stage.
The fresh bond, is coming just as Nigeria's former Finance Minister and a Managing Director of the World Bank, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, drummed support for investment in Africa and faulted the negative comments being peddled by those who "were out to misinform the world about the African continent."
Fashola, who was among top business leaders and government officials that addressed foreign investors yesterday, said Lagos State government, which was the first to go to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to raise N15 billion bonds, has almost completed the repayment.
"Lagos State is the first state to raise a structured bond. We have almost finished honouring our obligation in that regard, because we have never reneged on our obligations. We are trying to ensure that we issue another bond for at least N150 billion, to help us finance some of the areas already identified such as roads, new schools, hospitals, refuse management and all other sectors that make life meaningful to the inhabitants.
"The fact is that if we want to attract good investment into the state and the country as a whole, we have to provide an investment-friendly environment. There is no doubt that if young people are properly employed, crime rate in the country would drastically reduce. This is because the advent of information technology has enabled the people, especially young school leavers, to see the kind of lifestyles they want, but which they can not achieve because of the situation in the country.
"As a government, we are providing support for the police, even though it is not our responsibility to do so. It is a national obligation, but we realise that if we do not provide that kind of support, we stand the risk of losing the opportunity for partnership with our investors," he said.