As revenue from sale of crude oil continues to dwindle, the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, yesterday called for the diversification of the economy.
NGF chairman and Zamfara State governor, Abdul’aziz Yari made the call at a two-day Internally Generated Revenue workshop organised by the NGF in Abuja on Monday.
He said the solution to the declining fiscal revenue facing most states lied in the diversification of the economy.
According to him, “Economic diversification is of course vital to ensuring the long-term economic growth we seek. We must ensure that we are competitive in the way we diversify our economies, and ensure that the private sector plays a stronger role going forward.
“This event should guide our states to share practical and effective experiences for boosting revenue generation and also provide strategies to kick-start the process.”
Yari, who was represented by Kano State governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, said Nigeria’s economic challenges could be overcome when the leaders make conscious efforts “to do the right thing at the right time.”
According to the NGF chairman, the IGR peer learning event was coming at a time when the governors were expected to live up the expectations of the electorate, and charged the attendees to “mobilise the potential interaction of the resources to meet the revenue gaps.”
He disclosed that NGF members had agreed to adopt the findings of the summit as an important action plan for ensuring a more robust internally generated revenue base for states.
“We will also expect periodic briefings from our secretariat on the status of these plans and how our states have been able to implement them,” he added.
The governor, however, noted that the declining fiscal situation in Nigeria had considerably hurt the nation’s development plans.
Imo State governor and chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, Rochas Okoracha attributed the leakages in the system to why resources were not enough to service the states.
Governor Okorocha called for the fusion of culture into the nation’s political and economic lives, adding that “democracy which we don’t understand has further deepened our problems.”
He said: “We have enough resources to run the states but there are so much leakages. There are cultural challenges; no nation can grow above its cultural resources. Culture has a lot to do in our politics and economy. Let us develop our land and be less oil dependant.”
Addressing newsmen shortly after his presentation, Okorocha said “while we are looking at our internally generated revenues, which is given and which has its challenges in many steps, we should also look deeper inward and start to develop the resources of our land, mainly agriculture.”