Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and Governor Fashola of Lagos State (techloy.com)
Governor Babatunde Fashola was speaking while hosting a delegation from Google, which included the web giant’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.
According to the governor, his administration has invested massively in the development of the state’s infrastructure in order for it to meet the needs of its increasing population.
“While we were bringing in economic relief, opening up opportunities, attracting investment, what would be the future on which the economy of our state would be built was clear to us and that is information technology,” he said.
He added the state set up an Innovative Council with the goal of exploring ways that Lagos state could benefit from IT which include the establishment of necessary infrastructure.
“All you (the Google team) have heard about providing Right of Way, at cost not at profit, was not accidental. It was clear to us that the profit is ahead. We had many arguments and many fights in a bid to answer the question, do we want to make money now and make no money in future? Do we want to lose the opportunity to the competition? We are conscious of the fact that if any other state does it, we lose the business,” Fashola said.
On possible avenues where the state can partner with Google, he said the Lagos State University Ojo and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are some areas where Google can access opportunities.
Concerning SMEs, the governor said Google can support already existing SMEs “in terms of making them accessible to the current capacity that exists so that people can interlink them and thus building a wider pool of businesses”.
He also mentioned the proposed Katangowa IT Hub project through which the state can locate the IT appliances, tools and others, as well as, the market in a residential area.
He concluded: “For us, it can become a major IT hub. It is a few kilometre away from the state university. We are thinking of an IT warehouse and just taking everybody to the place. I think what we have decided a few weeks ago is that government will take the lead and that we are going to put buildings, shops and warehouses there and hope that people will follow us.”