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States doing little to attract investment, says expert

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Ayo Teriba

Chief Executive Officer, Economic Associates, Mr. Ayo Teriba has said governors are doing little to drive-in investment into their states.

Speaking at the January 2021 Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies (CIAPS) Roundtable themed, ‘Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability of Nigerian States’, Teriba stated that too little is being done by states to generate investments, noting that no Nigerian state has a portal dedicated to attracting and guiding investors.

He debunked the notion that many states in the country are not financially viable.

According to him, every state in Nigeria has the potential to be viable, but must have the right leadership that can identify how to generate wealth.

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He listed the economy, natural capital, human capital and governance as the four levers that states need to push on to generate revenue.

The event, hosted virtually by the Lagos-based international graduate school, CIAPS, had participants from 36 states of the federation and outside the country.

While Teriba was the lead discussant at the roundtable, other discussants at the event included Executive Director, Businessnewscorp, Phillip Isakpaa and Editor-In-Chief, The Point Newspaper, Yemi Kolapo. CIAPS Director, Anthony Kila, chaired the event.

Isakpa said too many individuals and businesses are focused on the Federal Government, instead of what state governments are doing.

He called for more engagement with state governments to ensure they leverage on such patronage and cooperation.

Isakpa agreed with other discussants that tying grants to fiscal responsibility is a very good move that allows citizens and businesses to know and access states doing well or badly.

Kolapo said performance conditioned grant is good. Kila charged the media and other observers to start providing information on states doing well or otherwise, in terms of economic management and fiscal responsibility.

“We need to know who are the performers and who are the bench warmers,” Kila said.

Recall that the Federal Government, in early January, disbursed N123.34b performance-based grant to eligible states under the
World Bank supported states fiscal transparency, accountability and
sustainability (SFTAS) programme.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, had announced that Sokoto State received the highest amount of N6.612b, while Kano State got the lowest of N1.710b. Bayelsa, Imo, Rivers and Zamfara states got zero allocation, due to inability to meet the 2019 eligibility criteria, which required states to publish online approved yearly budgets and audited financial statements within a specific timeframe.

In separate interviews, the experts urged all states to focus on revenue generation and fiscal transparency by learning from Sokoto that led the table of performing states.

A financial analyst, Rotimi Olarewaju, commended Sokoto, saying the state must be shown as example for others, since it has demonstrated that winning the World Bank performance-based grant is possible.

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