The governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has raised alarm that about 28 states in the country have gone technically bankrupt. His Osun State counterpart, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, who was at the occasion also said that Nigeria was sitting on a tinderbox with its army of unemployed youths.
The governors made the statements at the 7th annual Lateef Femi Okunnu lecture, delivered by Senator Abiola Ajimobi, titled: “State financing and over-dependence on oil: issues and challenge,” at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
Senator Abiola Ajimobi also said that penchant for tax evasion by citizens, public and corporate entities, as well as corruption and disrespect for the rule of law were major challenges facing the states. To get out of the doldrums, he again reminded the country that agriculture value chain was a neglected potential cash cow that must be revisited.
Senator Abiola Ajimobi said, “Our attitude is antithetical to development. We need to change our attitudes completely about payment of taxes and levies if we must avert the impending economic doom”.
“As I speak, I can conveniently say that 28 states are technically bankrupt. The jaundiced view that taxes and levies might be embezzled if paid is an anathema. Public office holders are supposed to hold in trust public treasury. To do otherwise is to court the wrath of the law after leaving office”.
“To the youths, I challenge you to imbibe positive leadership qualities such as you have found in our honoree and among other distinguished personalities you have seen or read about”.
“You must join the moving train of development and explore information technology positively to advance in the current and future world.”
Rauf Aregbesola, on his part, was confident that an estimated N625bn and more than N7tr could be injected into the economy on a monthly and annual basis respectively if the 25m youths said to be unemployed are gainfully employed. He further noted that the creative energy of the citizens, especially the youth, would be activated and unleashed if the states and the country were to respond to the pervading challenges appropriately.
He said, “This will lead to increased productivity and wealth creation on a scale that we have never witnessed before”.
“If the 25m youths said to unemployed by the National Bureau of Statistics today decide that they want to work and decently earn N25,000 every monthly it means N625bn new money will enter into the Nigeria economy”.
“Here we need to separate between earning and collecting. If the youths decide to work like bulls then we will be talking about more than N7tr new money annually entering into the Nigerian economy.”
Omolara Adegoke- Abuja
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