Prof Pat Utomi's Address at the 2011 Ekiti Economic & Development Summit


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Prof Pat Utomi's Address at the 2011 Ekiti Economic & Development Summit

  1. 1. Chief  Host,  Speakers,  Leaders  of  government  In  Ekiti  State,  Leaders  of  Entrepreneurs,  Distinguished  Ladies  and  Gentlemen.    I   am   honored   to   return   to   Ado   Ekiti,   this   time   to   help   set   the   tone   for   a  summit   on   the   economy   of   Ekiti,   with   the   great   prospects   for   social  harmony   and   political   progress   that   are   consequent   on   economic  prosperity.    As  I  address  you  today,  I  cannot  but  recall  my  visit  here  a  little  over  four  years   ago.     I   spoke   at   the   declaration   of   gubernatorial   candidate.     Dr.  Kayode   Fayemi.     I   spoke   then   of   the   possibilities   of   human   imagination.    If   you   can   dream   it,   I   had   said,   you   can   make   it   happen.     The  opportunity   to   make   it   happen   then   got   held   back   by   the   politics   of  electoral   process   controversy.       Not   so   long   ago,   the   hand   of   God   set  that   challenge   aside   and   Governor   Fayemi   was   sworn   in   and   named   his  team.     I   had   the   pleasure   of   joining   the   team   at   their   frame   setting  retreat   in   Iloko   to   share   from   my   perspective   on   the   bottlenecks   to  making   dreams   come   true   and   the   discipline   of   working   to   advance   the  interest  of  a  majority  of  the  citizens.    Today,  I  am  happy  to  lay  out  some  critical  issues  to  actualizing  dreams  for  a  people  like  those  of  Ekiti  who  are  rich  in  tradition  and  great  in  expectations.    The   first   question   I   want   to   pose   to   this   August   gathering   is   why   seek  prosperity?     In   effect   I   am   asking   why   we   are   gathered   here   for   an  economic   summit   or   interactive   session   between   the   government   and  the  private  sector.    WHY  SEEK  PROSPERITY  For  millennia  man  made  progress  very  slowly  and  was  not  much  caught  up  in  the  rush  for  material  advance,  even  though  it  will  be  erroneous  to  
  2. 2. suggest   he   made   no   progress   all   those   centuries.     He   not   only  discovered  fire  to  roast  the  product  of  his  hunt,  he  went  from  hunting  to   farming.     But   Jams   Watt   redesigned   the   steam   engine   and   made  power   based   production   possible,   with   quantum   leap   in   material  advance.   All   the   progress   one   can   say   comes   from   the   essence   of   his  humanity,   established   in   creation.   For   people   of   faith,   in   the   Christian  tradition,   the   Genesis   2   v   15   injunction   was   for   man   to   collaborate   with  God   to   move   creation  towards   its   perfection.     If  man   is   to   have  life   and  have   it   more   abundantly   (John10:10)   and   his   essence   is   to   keep  improving  creation,  it  follow  that  it  is  man’s  right,  in  the  modern  age,  to  expect  that  his  quality  of  life  improve  continuously,  keeping  pace    with  the  improvements  elsewhere,  in  the  spirit  human  solidarity.    The  philosophy  of  the  state  and  governing  places  the  onus  of  facilitating  the   advance   of   the   Common   Good   in   the   State,   whether   you   favour  John   Locke   or   Thomas   Hobbes.     That   role   of   the   state   is   variously  defined   on   a   liberal-­‐conservative   spectrum,   where   at   the   conservative  end   is   in   the   provision   of   non-­‐appropriability   goods,   that   is   those   goods  that   you   cannot   exclude   those   who   have   not   paid   from   enjoying   the  benefits.      Defence   is   a   classic   example.   At   the   liberal   end,   in   the   collectivist  tradition,   government   provided   even   commercial   goods   and   services.  Central   planned   economies   of   the   communist   state   were   the   extreme  example.     Along   the   spectrum   were   the   mixed   economies   of   Britain’s  Fabian  Socialism  and  even  conservative  surrender,  as  in  the  case  of  very  conservative  Richard  Nixon  who  declared  “we  are  all  Keynsians  now”    Whatever  the  colour  of  government  it  has  a  duty  to  improved  quality  of  life  and  the  people  have  a  right  to  demand  it.  The  discipline  to  go  about  that   improvement   in   a   systematic   manner   is   why   we   are   gathered   here  today.  To  make  economic  progress  in  a  way  that  ensures  social  justice  
  3. 3. is  to  raise  the  dignity  of  the  human  person,  a  core  purpose  of  modern  government.    Unfortunately   governments   have   not   always   acted   with   a   clear  understanding   of   this   role   and   its   obligations.   Part   of   it   is   that   while  man  made  progress  from  hunting  to  farming,  many  who  seek  a  role  in  public   life   in   more   primitive   societies,   where   the   institutions   of  accountability  are  not  strong,  still  act  as  hunters  and  see  government  or  public  office  as  bush  meat  they  have  hunted  down  and  seek  the  intent  gratification   of   cutting   up   their   share   for   voracious   consumption.    But   it  is   in   the   farmers   deferred,   or   delayed,   gratification   in   which   the  Common   Good   is   at   the   epicenter   that   human   progress   is   most  advanced.    It  is  my  expectation  that  is  the  cause  we  shall  pursue  here  is  the   disciplined   farmer   approach.     Fortunately   advancing   farming,  (agriculture)   alongside   mining,   tourism   and   an   Education   industry   into  global  value  chains  is  what  I  hope  to  suggest  today.    Today   what   we   need   is   to   build   a   partnership   between   the   people   of  Ekiti,  their  government,  and  wealth  creators  from  far  and  near.    For  the  true   mission   of   government   to   be   achieved   all   must   come   together  passionately   committed   to   building   for   the   long   term.     It   will   entail  reforming   the   mindset   of   public   servants   and   politicians,   building  capacity  for  execution  and  moving  away  from  the  hunter  as  scavenger  mentality.    Investment   money   is   scare   and   goes   only   where   there   is   warmth   of  welcome,  whether  it  be  the  Naira  of  a  prominent  son  of  the  soil,  Asian  with   his   Yuan   or   American   dollar   with   a   Texas   Oil   man.     Our   first   goal  must  be  to  have  a  service  that  welcomes  all  with  a  smile.    But  we  shall  return  to  this  later.        
  4. 4.  WHAT  SHOULD  BE  OUR  GOALS  Our   goals   must   be   set   in   a   smart   mode.     This   means   they   should   be  specific  (like  we  want  12%  per  annum  growth  in  total  Ekiti  economy  or  22%   growth   in   certain   agricultural   produce)   measureable,   attainable,  relevant  and  tangible.    Unless  we  can  reduce  our  discussions  to  such  we  may  have  talk  with  little  implementation.      WHAT  MAKES  FOR  ECONOMIC  GROWTH  In  my  work  trying  to  understand  why  some  nations  are  poor  and  those  far   less   endowed   prosper,   I   have   offered   a   framework   of   six   critical  variables.     These   are   Policy   Choices,   Institutions;   Human   Capital,  Entrepreneurship;   Culture;   and   Leadership.     I   expect   that   with  leadership   that   derives   from   a   sense   of   service   to   the   people   of   Ekiti,  and   knowledgeability  regarding  how  to  improve  the  human  condition,  the   key   to   progress   in   Ekiti   is   in   building   strong   institutions,   investing   in  human  capital,  generating  the  entrepreneurial  spirit  and  building  values  that   sustain   progress   in   the   culture.     A   strong   commitment   to   this  enterprise  will  make  Ekiti  economically  prosperous.    COMPETITIVENESS  AND  PERFORMANCE  We   have   said   that   investment   money   moves   to   the   more   attractive  location.     The   competitiveness   of   countries   or   states   will   determine  who   attracts   the   money.     The   foregoing   factors   help   shape   the  competitiveness   of   an   economy.     Competitiveness   in   specific   areas   of  strength,   where   the   state   has   comparative   advantage,   so   to   speak,   is  probably  more  important  in  a  short-­‐gun  scenario  than  just  building  up  the  general  competitiveness  of  the  state.    So  which  areas  do  I  think  Ekiti  needs   to   emphasize   in   becoming   more   competitive   to   stimulate   the  growth   of   winning   clusters,   and   how   should   the   structure   for   making  growth  from  these  specific  areas  come  together  for  rapid  results.    
  5. 5. My  inclination  is  to  favour  the  development  of  economic  zones  in  local  areas  with  particular  factor  endowments  and  then  constructing  values  chains  from  these  factors  into  global  markets.    For   me   Agriculture,   agro-­‐allied   manufacturing;   solid   minerals   mining;  tourism   and   education   are   sectors   from   which   Ekiti   can   grow   rich,  provide  jobs  for  its  youth  and  raise  living  standards  for  all.    I  know  that  areas  in  which  the  farmlands  of  Ekiti  have  been  traditionally  strong   have   been   audited   and   are   well   known.     The   challenge   would   be  for   government   to   find   champions   dedicated   to   each   agricultural  produce   and   give   them   targets   to   help   incentivize   farmers   to   raise   yield  and   then   to   ensure   that   they   get   the   best   prices   for   their   effort,   get  support   from   research   and   networking   to   make   output   optimal   and  ensure   little   waste.       Have   we   forgotten   the   Agricultural   extension  service  of  the  Awolowo  era.    It  has  been  done  before  and  can  be  done  again.    Creating   an   industrial   park   for   agro-­‐allied   manufacturing   that   adds  value   through   processing,   before   distribution   into   global   markets  should   be   a   big   boost   to   the   economy.     But   the   process   will   involve  professionals   who   can   help   plot   the   path   and   the   interventions   from  the   farmers   inputs   through   the   middlemen   and   the   manufacturers   to  those   who   can   move   efficiently   to   distribute   into   global   markets,  domestic   and   foreign   alike.     My   personal   favorites   include   rubber   and  other   cash   crops   that   can   thrive   in   Ekiti   as   well   as   cassava   and   the   food  security  needs  of  grains.    On   mining   I   am   of   the   firm   view   that   the   vast   mineral   deposits  documented   in   studies   by   the   Raw   Materials   Research   and  Development   Council   (RMRDC)   and   other   agencies   suggest   the  possibilities   of   the   solid   minerals   sector   in   Ekiti.     That   sector   remains  depressed  country  wide  because  there  seems  to  be  a  conspiracy  of  lack  
  6. 6. of   interest   and   corruption.     The   state   government   needs   to   go   into  aggressive  dialogue  with  the  federal  government  because  this  sector  is  largely   a   victim   of   the   failure   of   Nigeria’s   federalism.     Abuja   will   care  little   about   these   sectors   as   long   as   cheap   cash   from   oil   continue   to  grease   the   wheels   of   government.     Ekiti   must   seek   an   administrative  devolution  of  some  authority  on  this  until  a  constitutional  amendment  comes.    States  like  Enugu,  on  Coal,  and  Benue  continue  to  suffer  under  this  burden.    You  should  act  together.    With  tourism  the  rolling  hills  of  Ekiti  are  picture  perfect  for  some  kinds  of   tourists,   including   internal   tourists.     The   key   here   is   to   locate  facilities,   attract   the   hospitality   industry   and   improve   access.     In   this  and  many  other  activities.      I  want  to  say  there  is  room  for  collaboration  with  adjoining  states.    If  Ekiti,   Ondo   and   Osun   can   have   a   regional   strategy,   it   will   advance   the  good   of   all   three.     Road   and   rail   linkages   need   to   be   pursued   in  public/private  partnerships.    Then   there   is   education   Ekiti   has   the   reputation   of   being   the   state   of  PhDs.    That  seems  to  me  like  an  advantage  the  state  can  exploit.    I  think  of  Boston  in  summer  and  the  loss  of  several  hundred  thousand  citizens.    This  is  because  a  good  part  of  the  populations  are  students  who  come  from   all   over   the   United   States   and   around   the   world   to   study   in  Boston,  with  its  many  famous  academic  institutions.    It  is  an  academic  cluster,  the  city  of  Boston.    Why  can  Ekiti  not  be  the  same  in  a  country  requiring  huge  investments  to  raise  its  human  capital  stock.    I   am   persuaded   that   a   focused   search   for   partners   here   and   around   the  world  to  build  these  value  chains  will  have  transforming  value.        
  7. 7. LEVERS  OF  GOAL  ATTAINMENT  There  are  a  number  of  key  levers  for  ensuring  success.    One  key  lever  is  the  partnership  logic.  Governments  still  suffer  badly  from  failure  to  own  initiatives   in   the   way   the   private   sector   manages   to   hold   people   to  account  and  they  work  with  commitment  to  set  goals.    This  tragedy  of  the  Commons  Writ  large  is  behind  many  failed  promises  of  the  Nigerian  condition.     If   the   right   champions   are   found   in   Ekiti   and   they   treat  private   corporations   they   wish   to   be   partners     with   a   clear   sense   for  mutually  beneficial  partnership,  with  a  one  stop  to  shop  to  help  resolve  all  the  typical  irritants  that  investors  face,  you  will  see  amazing  results.    Let   me   commend   as   example   the   local   government   practice   in   the  United  States  that  have  TIFA  Funds  which  they  offer  as  grants  and  loan  to   companies   to   invest   in   their   area   as   a   way   of   enhancing   future   tax  revenues.    The  finances  of  Ekiti  may  not  allow  this  but  efforts  need  to  be  made  to  encourage  investors.    Again   as   countries   that   have   done   well   with   attracting   foreign   investors  know,   treating   well   already   resident   investors   so   they   can   spread   the  good  news,  is  important.    I  am  fortunate  to  be  on  the  Board  of  Directors  of   Mutual   Benefits   Assurance   which   is   one   of   the   biggest   investors   in  Ekiti   State.     I   do   hope   we   get   royal   treatment   as   a   signaling   to   other  investors.     If   Mutual   Benefit   can   celebrate   its   retainership   with   Ekiti,  others  will  show  more  interest.    Mr.   Governor,   Captains   of   Industry,   Ladies   and   Gentlemen.     I   see   the  future  of  Ekiti  State  green  and  flourishing  as  the  rolling  hills  of  the  stare  are.     But   it   will   take   work   and   passionate   commitment   to   make   it  happen.     We   can   sometimes   over   assume   about   capacity.     Training,  retraining  and  motivating  civil  servants  then  holding  them  accountable  is  key.    
  8. 8. We   must   learn   from   Malaysia   in   that   it   is   best   to   ensure   that   all   are  inside   the   house   pissing   out   than   that   some   are   outside   pissing   in.    Building  elite  consensus  is  also  a  key  lever  in  addition  to  making  the  civil  service  warm,  welcoming  and  less  corrupt.    Their  children  will  see  the  benefits  of  such  determination  to  act  differently.    Ladies  and  Gentlemen.  I  am  done.    As  a  self  declared  son  of  the  soil,  one  more  Ekiti  PhD  I  say  God  bless  our  intentions  and  give  us  the  spirit  to  make  all  prosper  in  social  justice.      Pat  Utomi  14/10/11