By Austin Oyibode
Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has reaffirmed the need for the federal government to consider the diversification of the nation’s economy from oil as critical parameter in contending squarely with the current socio-economic realities in the nation.
The State Governor stated this Monday in Asaba, the state capital, during the official opening of a two day retreat on the evaluation of current issues emanating from the Federation Account organized by members of the Federation Account Allocation Committee.
Represented by the state Commissioner for Finance, Olorogun, David Edevbie, Governor Okowa also, called on states and local governments in the country to begin to exploit agriculture, tourism and solid mineral resources as economic avenues relevant at propping up their Internally Generated Revenue base.
The governor noted that the three tiers of government cannot, at this material time, compromise the need for the diversification of the nation’s economy in the face of the dwindling revenue receipts from oil and gas.
He said, “The decline in oil receipts has its associated consequences as it has made the three ties of government, particularly the states and local governments to suffer significant funding gaps, making budget implementations difficult.
“Today, most states and local governments owe workers’ salaries. Here developments accentuate the clamour for a review of the revenue allocation formula in favour of the state and local governments.
“Let me, however, commend the Federal Government on the recent bailout to states. This effort of the administration of President Muhammed Buhari, GCFR, in guaranteeing and protecting the provision of the 1999 constitution as amended, which required that all federal revenues are paid into a single treasury account is a welcome development”. Okowa said.
He further noted that following the current downturn in the nation’s economy, the state government is placing emphasis on internally generated revenue as the key to financing budget and other activities in the state.
Earlier in his key note address at the ceremony, the Chairman of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Engr. Alias Mbam, underscored the importance of the retreat which, according to him, will come out with workable recommendations to the various government for implementation.