By OLUWOLE FAROTIMI and MADUKA NWEKE
President Goodluck Jonathan, the 42nd President of the United State of America Hon. Bill Clinton and Lagos State Governor Mr. Babatunde Fashola yesterday threw their weights behind plans to make Lagos a world tourists’ destination.
Speaking at the dedication of the 5,000,000 square metres reclaimed land of the Eko Atlantic City the global eminent personalities said when completed the city will bring people all over the world to study the technology and pattern used in building a city of such caliber.
In his address at the celebration of the reclamation of land before now lost to the Atlantic Ocean in the last 100 years, that drew out the crème de la crème of the Nigerian society President Goodluck Jonathan remarked that the feat is a landmark event, which Nigeria must embrace.
His words, ”We cannot be hearing negative story always. It took the country 19 years to win the AFCON and today Nigerians can move from Lagos to Kano easily through train, and this happened after 19 years. This project is one of the good news that we will continue to tell in this country. “The coordination between well planned development and good quality of life, as a standard for higher of productivity and sustainability cannot be over -emphasized.
Jonathan said the housing sector all over the world creates employment for its citizens, adding that it is in this regard that the Federal Government has accorded the housing and urban development sector priority attention. “Its huge potentials have been the engine of growth and sustainable development.”
To this end, the enabling framework for kick starting the privatization of this sector is now being put in place. As part of the overall transformation agenda, this administration is committed to annexing the potentials, organising the construction sector as an important growth area for the economy,” he added.
The president noted that the housing and construction sector are important component in the country’s Gross Domestic Products, adding that the challenges in the housing and construction sector cut across a number of areas which include access to finance, property tax loan, high cost of building materials, among others.
According to him, “In order to solve the challenge in the housing sector, the federal government organised a retreat for all players in the sector.
And at the retreat, several issues and recommendations were made. And one of the fallout of the retreat is the need for a viable mortgage institution. “I am pleased to announce that we have commenced work on establishing a Nigeria Mortgage Finance Corporation (NMFC).
This corporation will help to provide finance for the housing and construction sector. The corporation will be private sector led. It will be established as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
“The partners will include the federal government, Nigeria local banks, Savings and loans institution and the most important institution is the World Bank, which is providing constructional credit of $300 million”. He said the new mortgage outfit is designed in such a way that it will be able to approach capital market to raise long term fund, adding that the intention is to ensure that funds are available for those who will intend to build for commercial purpose.
“Most especially, for private mortgage institution, so that if anyone wants to buy house, one will be able to access cheap fund to buy their own house. We expect that this will provide more liquidity for the housing and construction sector”In his speech Bill Clinton said,” I want to thank the government and the developer for building this city.
They have reclaimed five million square metre of the land initially lost to the sea. That marks the beginning of this amazing wall, they have kept their commitment and it will work to improve the economy of Nigeria.“
And all over the world it will bring enormous opportunities. I am convinced that within five years People will be coming over the world to see this wall. In the last nine years i have been asked to work in the aftermath of natural disaster all over the world. He commended President Jonathan for giving his foundation, the Clinton global foundation the opportunity to work with the country.
Clinton who congratulated the country on its victory in the Africa Nation Cup said American respect the victory of Eagles He added that ,“I spent more than two years as UN after the horrible Tsunami i saw what happen in America Huricane Kathrina, went wild in the city where i spent my child hold with buildings buried in water because they were not prepared and most recently my state in New York was hit by sandy in which thousands of people lost their homes and many lives loss. “This people will come to Nigeria.
We’ve spent billions of dollars to protect the low line areas from rising sea level, I have spent part of my life now trying to do a lot of work on climate change to help people deal with the consequences that already under way, you have experienced it here in the recent past”.
Earlier, the Lagos state Governor Mr. Babatunde Fashola assured that the state government will do everything within its power to make sure that the ambitious and visionary project which is private sector driven is delivered in accordance to agreements and specifications reached by the stakeholders.
According to him,” While many may see only civil work and engineering project and the sign of an emerging city of Eko Atlantic City Project, I see much more than that. I see the symbol of man’s undying spirit in Lagos to conquer nature.
“This is because the ability of human civilization to survive and prosper on this planet has been a story of constant battle against nature. Many times over, the human spirit has triumphed. The symbols of that triumph are many across our planet.
“The airplane is one of them. The Panama Canal is yet another. The European tunnel is another. The pyramid of Egypt remains an intriguing model of global edifice that stands as brand testimony of the indefatigable depth of human capacity for survival. “We continue to overcome, but it is fuelled by men of goodwill.
Although it is not finished, it is already a success story. The road that was lost to the coastal erosion is back and now motorable . The buildings that were deserted are now occupied.
Somebody’s values have been restored and multiplied. “More buildings are springing up along this axis because of opportunities that lie ahead. Thousands of people are earning living on this historic shoreline and properties that are used to flood due to rising waves of the ocean are now back because of the protection called the Great Wall of Lagos”.