LAGOS State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has pledged that his administration will collaborate with the Netherlands on health, education, technology, trade, tourism and infrastructure. Sanwo-Olu spoke yesterday when he received the Netherlands Minister for Foreign Trade, Development and Cooperation Mrs. Sigrid Kaag, who visited him in his office at Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.
The Federal Government has also expressed its willingness to partner the kingdom in the area of capacity-building to tackle the challenges of unemployment.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment Williams Alo, who spoke when a team in charge of Education and Consular Affairs from the Embassy of Netherlands, led by David Van Kampen, visited him in Abuja, stressed the need for collaboration in employment generation.
The governor said the state is friendly to foreign investors and that investment opportunities abound, adding that the state is home to all. Talking about the reclamation effort at Eko Atlantic City, Sanwo-Olu said: “You know there is a new development being done at Eko Atlantic City. That is a city that is raised on top of water. It is actually an engineering that we are really proud of.
“With technology, you need to sand fill a lot of the place there. It went 12 meters down and has a height of about nine meters up and that is twice the size of Victoria Island. We poured 10 million cubic of sand to stabilise. It’s actually the engineering that we are really proud of.”
The governor lauded the efforts of Netherland on skill acquisition and poverty reduction programmes, which had made Lagos State to foster economic relation with the country.
Sanwo-Olu said: “On education side, Netherland is very good. They develop skills a lot, which reduces poverty. Hence, our aim of partnering with you is to ensure that poverty is reduced by 2030. That is our goal.” He lauded the collaboration with the Dutch government in various areas, including the new Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme.
The governor said a lot is ongoing to boost the health sector as his administration is poised to give the people quality access to health. On water transportation, Sanwo-Olu noted the state is working hard on taking enough space in the waters for dredging to ensure safety when full blown aquatic traffic begins.
“We are doing a lot of reclamation to safeguard water safety and transportation. I think these are some of the things we are dealing with to upscale our transport system.
“What I am trying to present is total transportation in all, but for available resources. Water transportation is for us and of course, we need to complete our rail projects too so that we can have easy movement of our people from one part of the city to the other,” he added. Mrs. Kaag congratulated the governor on his emergence, praising his work ethic since assumption of office.
According to her, “From what I have heard so far, you are tremendous in your attitude. Hence, what the people who elected you saw and chose you as the governor of the Fifth largest economy in African continent is not in doubt.”
She expressed willingness to collaborate with the administration to achieve the desired results in maritime, health, education and technology.
According to her, Lagos and Nigeria have the potential to shine and lead by example. But, Alo was represented by the Director, Special Duties/Projects, Dr. Martina Nwordu.
He said the present situation where graduates wait for employment after graduation on account of lack of upgraded facilities in the already existing skills acquisition centres called for concern.
Kampen acknowledged the existence of a bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the Netherlands in the education sector, and the provision of scholarships to Nigerians over the years.
He said the purpose of their visit was to find out what Nigeria needed in the area of capacity-building in the labour sector, the scope of the collaboration in relation to education and to facilitate training among the countries’ universities.