Chief Samuel Oni, a retired financial expert with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has advised state governments to assist local councils with the enabling environment to promote long-term grassroots economic development.
Oni gave the advice during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Egosi, Oke-Ero Local Government Area of Kwara.
He called for an urgent review of some state governments’ economic development mechanism in alignment with the nation’s economic realities to accelerate growth at the third tier of government.
“It is a matter of fact that most local government areas across the country presently wallow in poor financial and un-impressive economic standard.
“They (the councils) lack the economic capacities to exercise their constitutional responsibility of adding value and improving the living standard of the people at the grassroots.
“The state governments, in order to assist the councils’ administration, feel the impact of the budget and other accrued allocations, need to urgently review their economic mechanism in that direction, “ he said.
Oni, who stated this against the backdrop of recent reports that the nation’s economy had moved out of recession, added that such mechanism review should align with budgetary provisions.
The financial expert decried the dwindling economic fortunes of most local government areas across the country, saying that the development was a stumbling block to government`s rural integration drive.
Oni said the call for review of state governments’ economic mechanism was to facilitate a regime of sustainable economic development plans in partnership with the local councils to achieve success.
He noted that the present joint account being practised in most of the states needed to be given more unique face values, to bail the councils out of their present financial predicament.
This, he said, would go a long way to assist the councils to benefit immensely and feel the impact of the accrued federal and other allocations to develop the people and their communities.
The economist expressed regret that local governments presently lacked the economic wherewithal to achieve the desired rural integration for their teeming populace.
He urged well meaning individuals, corporate bodies and organisations to support the present administration in its quest to turn around the country’s economic fortunes for the better.
Oni, who holds the traditional title of `Elemo of Egosi kingdom’, called for more constitutional responsibilities for traditional rulers.
He described them as the custodians of culture, heritage and traditions, saying they could assist in the maintenance of peace.