Ernest Umakhihe, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning has reiterated the need for States government to diversify the economy to ensure that adequate revenue is generated in their respective states.
Umakhihe reiterated this while speaking at the meetings of the Joint Planning Board, JPB and National Council on Development Planning, NCDP with the theme; State Fiscal Sustainability and Economic Diversification in Nigeria. The three day meeting is holding in Asaba, Delta State.
Umakhihe said the country’s GDP report has continuously show that oil and gas generates more revenue for the country and it has made the resources of sates insignificant.
He urged the states to tap into the Anchor Borrowers Programme project of the federal government which he said would help the states to generate more revenue through Agriculture.
Speaking on the importance of data and statistics in planning, Odhogbi J.O., Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Economic Planning Delta State explained that the bane of planning in Nigeria over the years has been lack of accurate statistical data for development planning including revenue generation.
He added that, “if we must achieve fiscal sustainability and economic diversification there must be deliberate and concerted effort of government at the national and state level, thus, it behooves this forum to proffer solutions in this respect and urgently address anomalies plaguing our economy.
“Closely connected to this is the need to identify and take full advantage of other revenue sources yet to be tapped whilst plugging the leakages in our revenue collection processes.
For his part, Abu Umar, National program Officer, DFID-PERL, Partnership to Engage Reform and Learn wants the Ministries to leverage on the quarterly reflection session organized by PERL to help them achieve the set goals.
Prof. Ayara Ndem from the University of Calabar while delivering the lead paper titled “Economic Diversification and Nigeria Fiscal Sustainability: Options for States” urged each states to ensure productive use of their funds and resources.
Prof. Ndem says, “funds must be used for development of infrastructure instead of using it for recurrent expenditure. States should never use capital resource inflow to fund recurrent expenditure, it is very important to avoid funding mismatch.”
Ndem recommended that there should be Budget process and stakeholders monitoring adding that, “there is need for policy based, credible comprehensive and transparent budgeting, need to have community budgeting with members of the Civil Society Organizations reviewing budget performance, giving review and feedback.