Governors are rethinking strategies to exploit their states’ areas of comparative advantages to raise revenue and create jobs.
States are constrained by their financials as they look to the Federal Government for bailouts. The Federal Government recently provided N614 billion to fund the wages of their workers and cater to infrastructure needs. The Central Bank of Nigeria has funded the Federal Government to the tune of N4.4 trillion as the country continues to face fiscal challenges.
“Imo State is the second largest in terms of cassava and number one in terms of melon cultivation,” said Emeka Ihedioha, Imo State governor, at a break-out session at the 25th edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit, tagged #NES 25.
“We are working on tapping into these. Our legislative process should be tailored towards encouraging us with laws that advance our competitiveness,” Ihedioha said.
He explained that when he came on board, Imo was 34th on the ease of doing business index, saying that he intends to change the situation to attract investors.
He said South-East governors are discussing to rejuvenate the infrastructure in the region.
“It does not appear the Federal Government is proportionate in infrastructure allocation,” he said.
Abdulrahman Abdulrazak, Kwara State governor, said he is concentrating on Sustainable Development Goals.
He said the state is investing in education and creating an environment that will help it tap the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) when it starts, stressing that the state has an advantage in agriculture and agro processing.
Abdulrazak said that BUA Group’s $350 million sugar investment and what Dangote Sugar is doing in the state can help Kwara supply Nigeria’s 1.7 million metric tonnes need.
He disclosed that the state has provided 50,000 hectares of land to Dangote and another 50,000 hectares to BUA. He pointed out that Olam’s cashew processing plant in the state, which is biggest in the country, and other investments, are there owing to relative security in the state.
Godwin Obaseki, Edo State governor, said Nigeria’s education today should focus on training the people to think critically and towards vocational and technical education. “The key question we must keep asking ourselves is, how are states organised in terms of data and records? Absence of all these puts competition under threat,” he said.
Obaseki further urged alignment of states and Federal Government in competitiveness.
Kayode Fayemi, chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum, said state governments are understudying one another in specific areas where they are doing better to learn and grow in what he described as a peer learning method.
“We are discussing with the World Bank on this development, and they are providing a guide to us on this. This would help us drive competitiveness. We are not going to do it as the World Bank does, but states are understudying each other on where they have greater strengths,” he said.
“For instance, if Edo is doing well in education, we re-direct our other states to them to understudy them to drive competitiveness. States have been part of competitiveness report.
Our ranking and improvement on the ease of doing business must trickle down to the small scale industries, for instance, in terms of our timeframe on delivery of certificate of occupancy,” he said.