The Chairman, Owan East local government area of Edo State, Mr Jimoh Ijegbai has advocated the need for states and local government areas of the country to boost their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) profile and realize that “oil will not last forever.”
The chairman stated this in Arokho and Imakhu communities, near Afuze, Owan East local area where he went to commission water projects on Wednesday.
He said council areas and state governments across the country must begin to look inward, especially in the areas of their comparative advantage in view of the financial crunch that has hit the country.
Ijegbai said he felt the need to stress on it because his council was still executing and commissioning projects and meeting with its salary obligations even when most council areas and even states were finding it difficult to pay salaries.
According to him, “It will surprise you that we are not only initiating projects, we are executing as well as inaugurating projects because, we foresaw this financial crunch that has affected most states and councils areas of the country.
“The first thing we did when we assumed office was to look inward in order to boost our IGR and this has paid off greatly.
“As we speak, we have one of the most efficient transport system among local governments in Nigeria. Within two years, we have increased our fleet of buses from the eight we met to 24. These buses are plying various routes in the country.
“Again, we decided to go into commercial sales of fuel. We are into selling of petroleum products in the local government as a commercial entity.
“We know that that oil will not last forever. When we started seeing the signs that things were going bad, we decided to see where we have comparative advantage and we took advantage of it and it is the secret you are seeing today.
“My advice to other councils is to see to it that oil will not last forever and the sooner they start looking inward to boost their internally generated revenue, the better for them.
“There is need for these councils to look into other areas where they think they have an advantage and to capitalize on it to see what they can make out of it.”
Ijegbai said aside provision of pipe borne water, his administration had invested massively in the education sector, health as well as agriculture.
While appealing to the communities to ensure that government facilities are protected from vandalization, the council boss reiterated his commitment to transforming the council through human and infrastructural development.
“I want to assure the people that despite the obvious financial challenges facing government at all levels, we shall by the grace of God continue to be prudent and pragmatic in deploring human and material resources for the overall benefit of our people,” he stated.