In its first term of office from 2010-2014, the Fayemi Administration in Ekiti State implemented an 8- Point Agenda. Basically, these are:
Human Capital Development
Integrated Health Services
Given the resource and budgetary constraints facing any government in Ekiti State, the 8-Point Agenda was indeed a very ambitious development program. However, with dedication and determination, the Fayemi Government recorded many successes and achieved notable breakthroughs in virtually all the sectors of the state economy. The government also recorded visible presence in all the nooks and crannies of the State, rural and urban.
Inevitably, the inadequacy of available resources to implement this 8-Point Agenda led to the government’s inability to pay wages and salaries as and when due. To alleviate this problem, government took some loans from banks and other non-bank financial institutions.
The succeeding Fayose government inherited all the assets and liabilities of the Fayemi Administration but failed to build on the foundations laid by that government. Rather, it deliberately abandoned some of the laudable projects and programs it inherited and embarked on what it called ‘stomach infrastructure’ and white elephant projects that failed to enhance the productive capacity of the state economy.
Fayose’s Government also abandoned key sectors of the economy such as agriculture and tourism and as a result, the state economy contracted and fell into recession. The inevitable consequences of this economic downturn are youth unemployment and disempowerment, several months arrears of salaries, wages and pensions of public sector workers, huge debt stock, poor social infrastructures and disinvestment/divestment/divestiture by business entities fleeing the disenabling fiscal environment created by the Fayose Administration.
Expectations and Priorities
These problems created by the maladministration and mismanagement of the state economy are the immediate challenges needing remediative, palliative alleviative measures to restore some sense of sanity and degree of socio-economic equilibrium.
The arrears of salaries, wages and pensions need to be cleared as soon as possible with any outstanding revenues due to the state from the federal government. This should have the effect of boosting the morale of workers at both the state and local government levels and enhancing productivity in the public sector.
Verified and genuine state Indebtedness to government contractors should also be a priority of the new Administration. This should have the effect of enhancing the confidence level of local and foreign businessmen and investors in the state economy thereby boosting the ability of the new Administration to reverse the downward trend in the state economy and spur economic growth and development.
This should also facilitate the inflow of much-needed investment capital to key sectors of the state economy such as primary and secondary agriculture, tourism, industry such as commerce, manufacturing and mining, and education such as technical, secondary and tertiary. The main objectives of the injection of critical investible funds to these key sectors are to expand productive capacity, create adequate employment opportunities for youths, boost aggregate demand, and accelerate economic growth to enhance the standard of living of citizens in the state.
Of critical importance is the coordination of the state economic and industrial strategy with those of neighboring states in the Southwest Zone, in view of the movement towards regional integration and development as laid down in the DAWN Document.
More specifically, it is necessary to create a Youth Job Corps in each Local Government Area to generate rural and urban social and physical infrastructural capital. This is to alleviate the youth unemployment problem.
Another appropriate recommendation is the establishment of an industry in each Local Government Area based on its factor endowment profile and comparative advantage.
The combined or cumulative effect of the implementation of these two policy measures and strategies is the movement of the State towards fuller employment, realization of a more peaceful, prosperous and equitable society and acceleration of the rate of growth and development of the state economy.
K. A. Familoni, PhD.
Research Professor & Consultant Economist