The Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has said there is need to channel borrowed funds to regenerative ventures to strengthen the nation’s economy and generate more jobs for the citizens.
Dr. Fayemi said there was nothing wrong in the recent call made by President Muhammadu Buhari for a downward review of the nation’s debt portfolio owing to the prevailing revenue challenges facing the country.
He said the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), which he chairs, is waiting on the Supreme Court on the final resolution of the dispute between the Federal Government and some states of the federation on the collection of the Value Added Tax (VAT).
The Ekiti helmsman expressed confidence that his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) would still form the next government at the federal level and win majority of the states of the federation after the conduct of the 2023 general elections noting that the party for now was interested in the stability and security of the country.
Dr. Fayemi stated these while fielding questions on THISDAY LIVE, an interview programme on ARISE TELEVISION monitored in Ado Ekiti on Sunday. Dr. Fayemi also advocated that the Petroleum Industry Act should be implemented equitably among the nation’s federating units.
The Governor said the security of the people of Ekiti State was paramount to his administration, adding that the state has been leveraging on the synergy between the mainstream security institutions and the Amotekun Corps to secure lives and property of dwellers of the Land of Honour.
Predicting victory for APC in 2023, he said: “Contentions are always going to happen. APC is a big Party with different tendencies and there will be contentions for and against. We are very confident that this Party will produce the next government in this country in 2023 but before we get there, we are more focused on the country now. The Party is more interested in the stability and security of Nigeria. What is happening internally is something we will resolve internally.”
Responding to a question on borrowed funds, Dr. Fayemi said: “The President Buhari administration ought to be commended on the utilization of money being borrowed. It has utilized these monies more on infrastructure development than consumption which has aided economic growth.
“Clearly, it would be great not to borrow but it would also be great to redirect the funds that we have to regenerative areas of our economy. Realistically, we have a revenue challenge which has not enabled us build an economy that responds to the yearnings of Nigerians.
“I don’t think there is anything wrong in the President as a major voice in international affair, particularly in Africa and the black world calling for a review of debt management and arrangements.”
Lending his voice to the VAT controversy, Dr. Fayemi said: “For us at the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, this is an issue that we are looking both legally and politically. But our take on this is that the Supreme Court should accelerate its decision so that we have clarity over who should be in charge of Value Added Tax (VAT). Whether it is the Federal Inland Revenue Service, or States.
“States that have gone to court believe clearly that this responsibility evolves according to their own understanding of what the constitution says. The important thing is that our tax system is problematic, confusing, and contradictory. We need to do a lot more to clarify things so that it can give room for more efficient and effective collection of taxes.”
Lending his voice to the new Petroleum Industry Act, the NGF chair said: “We do not believe that the Ministry of Finance (incorporated) and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources should be the sole owner of the company that have emerged out of the Petroleum Act because we believe that the entire