BY PETER OKUTU
ABAKALIKI—THE Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, Monday, called on the Federal Government to reduce its over-dependence on oil and gas and broaden its economic base through diversification.
RMAFC Chairman, Engr. Elias Mbam, who made the call during a zonal Advocacy Workshop on Economic Diversification and Enhanced Revenue Generation (South-East zone) in Abakaliki, stressed that the nation’s economy must be diversified to guarantee actualization of the various socio-economic development programmes of government.
Mbam stated that the South-East zone had high potentials for agriculture, solid minerals, tourism and industrial development waiting to be harnessed, but implored state governments within the zone to build strong economic ties with their counterparts through the promotion of regional collaboration by exploring areas of comparative advantage.
According to him, at the end of the zonal workshops, the commission will produced a blue-print that would serve as a broad-based guideline to governments at all levels for the diversification of their revenue base.
He said: “At present, oil and gas resources drive the nation’s economy. These hydrocarbon resources are exhaustible, non-renewable and vulnerable to international price volatility and politics.
“Therefore, we must diversify to ensure sustainable means of funding our national development and reduce the over-dependence on oil and gas revenue”.
In his remarks, Governor Martin Elechi of Ebonyi State opined that the diversification of sources of revenue would increase economic independence of the nation, reduce its reliance on vulnerable economic sectors and lead to multiple market platforms for export and income generation
He said: “we, as a state, in appreciation of our mandate to align ourselves with the national aspiration, have taken a number of steps to diversify our revenue base even though the results may be slow in manifesting.”
The workshop, which was schedule to hold in Abakaliki between June17 18 had earlier taken place in four geopolitical zones of the country; and witnessed the presence of delegates from fives states within the South-East geopolitical zone, including governors of Imo, Abia, Anambra and Enugu states who were represented.