By Oyewale Oyelola
Oladipupo Ramadan, 18 year-old student of Lagos State University (LASU) has won Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative, BBYDI Inter-Campus Debate competition on Debt and Tax Justice in the South-West.
Oladipupo Ramadan defeated 16 other contestants at the grand finale of BBYDI debate competition held on Thursday in Osogbo, Osun State capital.
The debate competition is part of the organisation’s ongoing advocacy campaign on Tax and Debt Justice in the South-West region, a project it is running in collaboration with CISLAC Tax Justice and Governance Platform and Christian Aid Nigeria.
The debaters spoke on the topic ‘Navigating the Fiscal Quagmire: Is Accelerated Economic Growth a Viable Strategy for the South West to Overcome its Debt Spiral, or Does the Solution Lie in Tax Reforms.’
Adediran Fawaz, a student of the Osun State University and Micheal Barnabas of the University of Ibadan came first emerged first and second runners-up of the keenly contested competition respectively. All the three winners smiled home with cash gifts.
The organisers said the debate competition sought to build the intellectual capacities of the contestants, examine their understanding of the impact of debts and tax justice on the economic stability of South-West states and proffer viable solutions to the financial challenges facing the region.
Sanni Issa-Alausa, the Director of Communications at BBYDI, congratulated the winners and other participants in the debate competition, saying that “we believe they are all winners.” He disclosed that a total of 107 students of tertiary institutions across the South-West participated in the preliminary stage of the debate competition, out of which 16 advanced to the grand finale.
He said: “Our organisation is proud to host this intellectually stimulating and keenly contested debate competition which is a component of our ongoing advocacy campaign on Debt and Tax Justice in the South-West region. The debate seeks to excite the intellectual competencies of the participants, examine their understanding of the impact of debts and tax justice on the economic stability of South-West states and challenge them to proffer viable solutions to the fiscal challenges facing the region.”
Also speaking, the Global Director of BBYDI, Abideen Olasupo appreciated all the students who participated in the debate competition from the preliminary to the final stages while also commending them for exhibiting their capacities to critically examine issues of regional and national importance and offer solutions.
He noted that for the past few months, his organisation had been working in partnership with two other non-profit organisations to address issues relating to the management of taxes and the critical imperativeness of debt justice within the South-West region.
The BBYDI boss, who expressed worry over the rising debt profiles of states in the region, reiterated the need for governments in the South West to reduce their appetite for borrowings, saying such practice was dangerous for the fiscal sustainability and development of the states.
Olasupo, therefore, charged state governments in the South-West to implement essential financial reforms to enhance the fiscal ratings of their respective states and guarantee their sustainable economic growth and development.
He equally encouraged the governments to allocate more funds for capital expenditure and prioritise investments in critical sectors like infrastructure, education, health and agriculture, saying this would contribute significantly to the development of the region.
“It is important for the states to explore and develop multiple innovative revenue sources beyond traditional sources to reduce dependency on federal allocations and loans. States in the South-West must improve their business enabling environments to attract investors and should also support local businesses to create job opportunities and stimulate economic development,” he added.