By Oscarline Onwuemenyi
THE Minister of State for Finance, Mr. Remi Babalola, on Tuesday advised states to reduce their reliance on sharing of oil revenue from the Federation Account if the country is to achieve economic transformation.
He stated that the oil revenue should be allowed to provide the cushioning stability for the nationâ€™s economy in the face of volatility in the international oil market.
The minister gave the advice while presiding over the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting, in Abuja.
It was attended by the Accountant-General of the Federation, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo; Director of Home Finance in the Federal Ministry of Finance, Mr. Lexy Omoha Lexy; and the 36 statesâ€™ commissioners for finance and accountants-general, among others.
He said, â€œAs policy- makers, we should reduce our oil revenue dependency levels, check unnecessary grandiose projects and seek alternative and more sustainable routes to economic transformation so as not to suffer from possibility blindness.
â€œWe need to rein in urgent reforms, deliver business services more efficiently, provide better infrastructure and increase access to financial services and information economy,” he said.
He said though current crude oil production and market price are favourable, â€œwe still experience augmentation from excess crude account to shore-up our monthly allocation to the three tiers of government.
â€œThere is thus a compelling urgency more than ever before to have another perspective to this oil revenue sharing dependency at all levels of governance in this country.â€
Babalola noted that despite the unusual volatility in crude price due to global economic meltdown, the average annual price has been a positive development for the nation.
â€œWe have only a decade to actualise our vision 2020 and oil resource should be considered as a shot in the arm for the needed economic transformation. We cannot but continue to emphasise the importance of enhancing competitiveness and diversifying our economy,â€ he said.
Meanwhile, a new composition of the Post-Mortem Sub-Committee was expected to emerge at the FAAC meeting.
The ministersaid that the re-constitution of the sub-committee was aimed at institutionalising an enduring succession process in the sub-committee and the need to make it all- inclusive and very representative.