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Ekiti State Economic Summit drew attention to Lagos IGR model

*Osinbajo wants healthy economic rivalry among states *El-Rufai, Obaseki, Sanwo-Olu demand effective security for economic prosperity

The N45 billion internally-generated revenue flowing into Lagos State’s coffers monthly was a case study on Thursday at the Ekiti State Economic Summit, tagged “Fountain Economic Summit.”

This was held in Ado-Ekiti, where Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu reeled out fiscal and economic measures being deployed to sustain socio-economic growth and development in the State.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, who decried parlous economic situation being experienced and dwindling Federal allocations to the States and Local Governments across the nation, noted that all the Federating Units should devise sure means of generating revenue and work out reliable, sustainable fiscal policies that block financial leakages and consolidate revenue generation through an effective automated platforms.

He said, “Lagos State presently generates N45 billion internally every month and we can only urge States across the country, especially Ekiti State Government to block all loopholes of revenue leakage and consolidate its automated revenue platform to transit from low IGR to high IGR.”

Speaking on behalf of State Governments, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State; Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, unanimously agreed that there could not be reasonable development and socio-economic growth if there was no effective security, they however, demanded multi-level policing across 774 Local Councils, 36 States and Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

While speaking at the Economic Summit which had Adeniyi Adebayo, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment; Ben Liewellyn-Jones, British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria; Emeka Offor, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC); Seye Oyeleye, Director-General of Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) in attendance, Host Governor Kayode Fayemi stated that Ekiti’s Economy had been re-positioned for better.

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Governor Fayemi explained that ongoing developmental strides in Ekiti were resulted from the promise he made three years ago to restore the land and reclaim Ekiti values including completion of abandoned projects and lifting the state economy higher than he met it on assumption of office.

The governor said he took the gauntlet in attracting private investment to breathe life into the local economy, make the state less dependent on the federal allocation and also shore up the Internally Generated Revenue which he said had grown from N400 million monthly to N800 million adding that the state had grossed over N1 billion twice this year.

He added that work was ongoing on the Ekiti Agro Cargo Airport which he pledged would be inaugurated by this time next year to stimulate more investment and provide an opportunity for marketing produce within and outside the country.

He said, “Our solution to reduce the dependence of Ekiti State on federally distributed revenues, is to enable private enterprise, by making the state an attractive destination for investors.

“Today, I am pleased to note that our weakest section, enforcement of contracts, has been addressed by the collaborative efforts of the Judiciary, Legislature, our Ministry of Justice, and EKDIPA. We have also made significant progress with our Ekiti Knowledge Zone, Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone, and Cargo Airport projects, which are all designed to increase economic activity in the State.

“We have started construction of the airport, and expect it to be completed by this time next year. We have also received a grant of $250,000 from the African Development Bank to prepare a full feasibility study for Ekiti Knowledge Zone, and should announce an anchor investor and partner for the project before the end of this year. Our agro-industrial processing zone is already occupied, and we expect additional occupants over the next few months.”

Also, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo lauded various economic and investment initiatives of Ekiti State Government which had turned the State into a destination of choice for local and foreign investments.

Osinbajo said Ekiti has economic potentials and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that is higher than some African countries, describing the State as a land of limitless opportunities for investment in agribusiness, technology and knowledge economy.

He said the Federal Government and most especially President Muhammadu Buhari has a special interest in Ekiti and commended Governor Fayemi for leveraging on investment from the private sector to grow the economy of the State most especially in sectors where the state has comparative advantage.

The Vice President showered encomium on Governor Fayemi for reviving Ikun Dairy Farm after being abandoned for over 40 years and divesting 40 per cent of its shares to attract private investor, the Promasidor Group, in order to keep the business enterprise running and generating more jobs for the locals.

Osinbajo, who lauded concession of the famous Ikogosi Warm Spring Tourist Resort and principle of giving the private sector an opportunity to lead in bettering economic fortunes of States, highlighted the need for more peer review among the States to engender sustainable development which will rub off positively on the national economy.

“Ekiti has a friendly business environment; it ranks 18th overall out of 36 States and FCT in the inaugural edition of the Nigerian Homegrown Sub-Nation Ease of Doing Business Baseline Survey. The survey was commissioned and serves as a situation report on the current attractiveness of the business environment of States in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

“Ekiti was the strongest in the skills, labour and infrastructure and security indicators. Also in the last World Bank Ease of Doing Business Survey, Ekiti excelled in the area of dealing with construction plans, ranking 4th in the entire federation.

“Government should as much as possible facilitate or at best collaborate with the private sector. An excellent example is what we have in the formerly state owned Ikun Dairy Farm. After 40 years of inactivity, the state government has divested 76 per cent of shareholding to a private dairy company, Promasidor, now resulting in the company now producing over 10,000 litres from a herd of 500 cows”, he said.

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