The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has advised the state governors to focus their investments in areas where they have comparative advantages to boost the internally generated revenues.
Osinbajo gave the advice on Thursday at an Ekiti Economic and Investment Summit tagged: “Fountain Summit 2021” in Ado-Ekiti.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the summit was organised by Gov. Kayode Fayemi-led administration to proffer solutions to some of the socioeconomic challenges confronting the state.
Osinbajo said that such investments would ensure the desired sustainable economic growth and make the states less dependent on the Federal Government’s allocation for survival.
The vice president, who was one of the panelists at the summit, said it was high time for chief executives of the states to start thinking about how to grow the economy like a nation.
According to him, they can achieve this by investing in most appropriate ways in areas of their economic strength.
“The attractiveness of investments to any state should be radical, because that is the revenue hub and determinant of how happy the people of any state will be in terms of economic development in relation to their standard of living.
“But, while trying to grow investments, we must be cautious about multiple taxation, it weighs down businesses. Ekiti is a business-friendly environment.
“Ekiti has also excelled in the aspect of ease of doing business. You have vast arable lands for agriculture.
“Also, of recent the Government of Ekiti divested 76 per cent of shares in the Ikun Dairy Farm for Promasidor for the production of 80,000 litres of milk daily.
“Let me say that Ekiti has a bigger economy than many Africa nations.
“The question we should ask ourselves is that if I were the landlord of this nation, how do we survive?
“During my time as a Commissioner in Lagos State, we started with N600 million monthly Internally Generated Revenue in 1999.
“The seizure of Lagos State funds by former President Olusegun Obasanjo made us to think like a sovereign state. Today, Lagos is making over N45 billion monthly.
“The surest way forward is to deepen investments in the areas where Ekiti has comparative advantage.
“We should also make good investment in technology to grow the knowledge-economy, which is education,” he said.
The vice president commended the foresight of Fayemi, especially in the area of technology advancement, for having the foresight and to know that technology is the best way to go.
“I am, even, happy that the low in charges of the broadband airwave has already started attracting investments to Ekiti.
“What is in vogue now is that, well trained people in technology are the game changers,” he said.
Osinbajo, however, urged the people of Ekiti to leverage on their values in education, which he said they had acquired for the development of the state’s investments.
“I believe Ekiti have not lost this value. It has to be Fountain of the Knowledge Economy, not just the Fountain of Knowledge,” he said.
Earlier, Fayemi insisted that the multi-level policing system remains the best way out of the present conundrum.
“This request does not mean abrogation of the central Police. If you have problem of security in Kaduna, Gov. Nasir el-Rufai can easily take charge.
“My recent experience and many of our governors were not even palatable where we wanted to procure drones and Mr President was with us on the issue, but the NSA (National Security Adviser) refused us; the End User Certificate, but we got it one year after.
“As of now, security is on the exclusive list. Even, if the Federal Government is ready to allow us procure some arms, we have to sign MOu with the Nigerian Air Force.
‘We have to work together collaboratively, because investors consider security as number one in any state,” he said.
Fayemi said that his government had signed a Bill into Law establishing Ekiti Economic Council to plan and implement this summit and ensure that the outcome outlives his administration.
He said the dwindling revenues to states had taught a lesson that governors must block leakages in the revenue collection and leverage on areas where they could get support from the Federal Government, especially the social intervention programmes.
Fayemi said he had completed many of the projects left behind by former Gov. Ayodele Fayose.
He said that abandonment on the basis of lack of interest and change of party were constituting great impediment to growth and development.
Supporting the calls for a State Police, Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo, said that police should be removed from the exclusive list.
“If you have a business, you have to protect them and you must have the apparatuses.
“Security is on the exclusive list and we are looking up to the Federal Government to remove it for the states to take charge.
“We must provide facilities for the police to be able to train our local vigilance group, because in Edo State that was what we did.
“We raised a vigilance group to police our villages from the kidnappers and other criminals.”
Speaking about the role of ICT to driving economy at the subnational level, Obaseki advised the states to use ICT to recast the primary education by making children at that age to see computer as part of their lives.