From Tony Osauzo
Governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has said that Edo State is in dire need of an economic policy which should emphasize her potential in agriculture and tourism as well as Sports as revenue earners.
He promised that if elected, his administration would organize an international development summit to articulate an economic policy for the state.He stated this while presenting the PDP manifesto captured in his, ‘SIMPLE Agenda’, at the Maiden Benson Idahosa University Interaction Session for governorship candidates to showcase their vision and highlight their party manifestoes to the University community and voting public at the weekend in Benin.
“I think the very first thing we will do is to have an economic management team because we need to fashion out an economic policy for our state. We also need to convene an international Edo development summit to encourage people in the Diaspora and foreign investors to come.
“It is true that we need to diversify the economy of our state. We need to focus on Agriculture, Tourism and Sports as well as our land asset. Land is one of the most veritable sources of revenue to Lagos State. The reason why land is sold cheaply in Edo is because there are no basic infrastructures. So, we are to invest in our land asset, make it attractive and this will bring a lot of revenue to the state”, he said.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu also spoke of his plans to actively engage the private sector in activating the state’s economy through the Public -Private Partnership Platform that will see his government giving tax holidays and rebates where necessary.
“To do this, we need to create the right climate. If we have to give tax incentives and rebates, we will do so but certainly we are going to engage businesses to come and create jobs”.
On the fate of industries in the state, the PDP candidate said it was a matter of grave concern to most Edo people that the state-owned transport company which employed thousands of workers and sustained their dependants in the past was shut down by government.
“If you have good private transport companies making profits, I do not see why Edo Line should be closed. If Peter Obi as governor of Anambra State could open a brewery, I don’t see why Bendel Brewery should be closed. So, all the industries that have been closed in Edo will be revived to create jobs”.
He lamented the leakages in the state’s Internal Revenue mechanism and promised to change the mode of tax collection while eliminating the menace of multiple and punitive taxation.
“There are too many people- in the name of taxes -who are collecting money and putting it in their pockets. We intend to block all such loopholes. We also intend to change the manner of tax collection because it is not multiple punitive taxes that bring in more revenue. The more you improve the state economy, the more people will come to pay taxes”, he argued.
He said the state government needs to strengthen its Due Process office in a manner that it will be better equipped to monitor and evaluate public expenditure, as well as execution of public projects and their delivery to ensure transparency in governance.
He said so much money was currently being wasted by the state government and putting an end to the sad trend is his priority if elected as governor.
“There are too many wastes in government and we are ready to deal with it. The Due process office has to be strengthened and for the first time, we have to institutionalize a Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism that will track all public expenditure, as well as projects and delivery”, he said.