In his welcome address during the inaugural Ekiti Economic Development and Investment Summit, the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi said the ongoing developmental strides of his administration 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 the 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 disclosed that work is 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 products within and outside the country.
Dr Fayemi 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.”
During the panel discussion, Vice President Osinbajo said there is a need for more peer review among the States to engender sustainable development which will rub off positively on the national economy.
Speaking during the panel session, Governors Sanwo-Olu, El-Rufai and Obaseki, were unanimous in their submission that multi-level policing would help address the insecurity issues in the country.
Governor Sanwo-Olu who said Lagos State presently generates N45 billion internally every month urged Ekiti State Government to block all loopholes of revenue leakage and consolidate its automated revenue platform to transit from low IGR to high IGR.
Governor Obaseki said investment in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and education remained a key to economic revival and growing the SMEs to place Ekiti on a higher economic pedestal as witnessed in Edo.
He said the failure of many States to plan ahead of the economic downturn and beyond the oil-driven economy has placed many of them at a tight corner noting that the need to look inward has become imperative more than ever before.
Governor Fayemi during the discussion also harped on the need for successive administrations at federal and state levels to imbibe the culture of continuity of projects and policies that are beneficial to the people to stem the tide of waste in the country.
He noted that Ekiti Civic and Convention Centre commissioned earlier in the day was started during his first administration but abandoned by the administration that succeeded him noting that it was Providence that brought him back to the office to complete the iconic project.
Governor El-Rufai urged states to invest more in human capital development and “tame the monster of recurrent expenditure” which, according to him, is eating deep into their developmental strides.
He identified education, health and security as critical sectors that must witness quality investment to gradually turn the States into investment havens and make them depend less on the Federal Government for survival.
The event was attended by the Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi; Ekiti First Lady, Erelu Bisi Fayemi; members of the National Assembly, State House of Assembly, traditional rulers, clerics, senior civil servants, artisans, interest groups and members of the public.