By Henry Umoru
ABUJAâ€”THE 36 state governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governorsâ€™ ForumÂ (NGF), will today meet with technocrats, academics and industrialists to brainstorm on how the country could grow the non-oil sector and fund states and local government councils on a sustainable basis.
The forum which is being put together by the governors has the theme, â€œSurviving the Downturn, Refocusing on Internally-Generated Revenue, the â€œFirst National Round-Table Strategy Session on Internally-Generated Revenue.â€
It will also be attended by state commissioners of finance, Accountants-General from states, chairmen of States Boards of Internal Revenue, banks, financial institutions, local government chairmen, treasurers, secretaries, tax practitioners and professionals.
The event will hold at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
Meanwhile, the Director-General of the Forum, Mr. Asishana Bayo Okauru, stressed that the conference was borne out of NGFâ€™s belief that states and local government councils should begin to look beyond oil revenue to fund development on a sustainable basis.
According to him, â€œthe recent global financial crisis and the attendant fluctuations in oil revenues due to price volatility are a source of concern to fiscal stability at all levels of government in Nigeria. The current high dependence by States on the share of oil receipts in the Federation Account meant that many things could go wrong if increased oil revenue is not sustained for a long time.
â€œState and Local Governments must embrace strategies that would increase the share of Internally Generated Revenue if they must withstand the shocks of the future.
The current national average of about 12% Internally Generated Revenue for both State and Local Governments is just unsustainable and could potentially undermine their ability to meet development targets. We should begin to look beyond oilâ€.
At the Conference, Governors of Cross River State Governor, Mr. Liyel Imoke, Lagos State,Mr. Raji Bataunde Fashola, and Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole are expected to speak on Internally Generated Revenue from their states and the link between revenue generation, good governance and democracy.
While Oshiomhole would speak on â€˜Rebuilding Tax Payersâ€™ Confidence: The Confluence between Good Leadership and Internally Generated Revenueâ€™,Liyel Imoke will address the question Innovate or Perish: Building Internally Generated Revenue through Economic Growth and Development- Lessons from Cross Rivers Stateâ€™ and Lagos State governor, Fashola will speak on Re-engineering State Tax Administration Strategies, Systems and Processes: Lessons from the Lagos State.
Also, Professor Taofeeq M. Abdulrazaq, of Saffron Partners will speak on Reviewing the 7 â€˜Sâ€™ framework of States and Local Governments Internal Revenue Generation Mechanism, while Mr. Gerald Ilukwe, Managing Director of Galaxy Backbone,Â will educate participants on the Role of Information and Communication Technology in Improving and Simplifying Internal Revenue Generation Capacity of States and Local Government councils.