Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has appealed to the 36 state governors to start investing in the areas of their comparative advantages in order to shore up their internally generated revenues (IGRs) and stop relying solely on federal allocations for survival.
Osinbajo made the appeal in Ado Ekiti yesterday at the Ekiti State Economic and Investment Summit tagged: ‘Fountain Summit 2021’, which was organised by the state Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi-led government to proffer solutions to some socio-economic issues rattling the state.
The vice president’s suggestion came to the fore as some state governors- Kayode Fayemi , Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Godwin Obaseki and Nasir El-Rufai of Ekiti, Lagos Edo and Kaduna States respectively-canvassed robust multi-layers policing system in the country to protect the citizens and investments that can drive development.
The quartet insisted that preventing governors of respective states to take charge of security is affecting investments, development and wellbeing of the people adversely.
The summit titled: ‘Investment attractiveness, and Economic Development: Lesson for the Sub-nationals’, was attended by the Governors El-Rufai, Obaseki, Sanwolu and their counterpart from Ondo, Rotimi Akeredolu, who was represented by his Deputy, Lucky Ayedatiwa, where they were also panelists.
Osinbajo, who was one of the panelists, stated that the time has come for the state chief executives to start thinking about how to grow the economy like a nation, by investing in most appropriate ways in areas of their economic strength.
He said: “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 would be in terms of economic development in relation to their standard of living.
“But while trying to grow investments, we must be cautious of multiple taxation, because it weighs down businesses. Ekiti State is a business-friendly environment. It has also excelled in the aspect of ease of doing business. You have vast arable lands for agriculture. Also, recently, the state government divested 76 percent of shares in the Ikun Dairy Farm for Promasidor for the production of 80,000 litres of milk daily.
“Let me say that Ekiti State has a bigger economy than many Africa nations. The question we should ask ourselves is that if I were the landlord of this country, how do we survive? During my time as a Commissioner in Lagos State, we started with N600 million monthly IGR in 1999. The seizure of Lagos State funds by 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 State has comparative advantage. We should also make good investments in technology to grow the knowledge economy, which is education.