June 9, 2009

Ekiti woos investors with tax holiday

By Gbenga Ariyibi
Ekiti State Government has promised to give three years tax holiday to prospective investors into the state. The state governor, Engr Segun Oni made the pledge in Ado Ekiti yesterday during the official commissioning of the Ekiti Kete Mass Transit Company in Ado Ekiti, saying the gesture is aimed at encouraging investors into the state.

Adding that the policy would only be applicable to new companies and not the old ones that have already been in operation.

The transportation company which commenced operation about a year ago has 66 new buses for  its operations and it is expected  to  be  plying  18 cities around the country.

Speaking through his deputy, Dr Sikiru Tai Lawal, the governor said all the ailing industries in the State that could serve as veritable source of internally generated revenue would be  privatized or leased to interested investors to foster Public-Private partnership investment in the State.

Oni said the state government  could not afford any wastage in the State as it happened in the past, clarifying that the State coffers are too lean for any form of leakages.

In his statement, the company’s  Group Managing Director, Mr Taiwo  Adewole, said the Company commenced operation in November 2008 with eleven buses plying Ado – Lagos routes, adding that as at May 2008, the company successfully carried 9900 passengers monthly on the said routes.

The GMD said 145 staff, who were mostly of Ekiti extraction had been engaged by the company in its almost two years of operation. He explained that  over N500million had been expended on the repositioning of the, hitherto, moribund company.

On how the collapsed company was revived, Adewole explained that it signed and executed a Lease Franchise Agreement for the resuscitation, re-branding and the management of the now defunct company with the State Government.

Parts of the  agreements, according to him, includes the payment of N25million annually  to the state government for a period  of 10 years.

Some of the  packages the company has in stock for the staff and  the passengers according to him  include a comprehensive insurance cover  by AIICO General Insurance Company PLC.

It may  be recalled that the Ekiti Kete Mass Transit company was incorporated 1997 as a wholly State owned Limited Liability Company but could only operate for a few years after which it became moribund.