By PETER OKUTU
ABAKALIKI — GOVERNOR Martin Elechi of Ebonyi State, said yesterday, that the country’s over-dependence on oil was killing the economy.
According to him, only a diversification of the economy will save it from total collapse.
Elechi, who gave the observation while signing into law the 2014 Appropriation Bill of N99, 840,505,540.00, called on the people of the state not to relent in the payment of their taxes.
He warned that the government would not treat non-payment of tax with levity, adding that the state would seek financial assistance from America and Africa Development Bank, ADB, to fulfil its infrastructure obligations to the people of the state.
“Our economy is very, very dry if we must face the reality and that is why we are asking for assistance of soft loans from America and Africa Development Bank to ensure economic take-off in the state.
“We must be prudent in whatever is available. We will be strict in approval of meetings so as not to be left out of national schemes.
“We will be economical in attending meetings outside the state; we cannot be doing everything just because other states are doing them.
“It is easier to pass a budget into law than to find the money; all should be up and doing in tax payment. It is an exercise our people are long used to and because we are blessed with oil wells, people tend to depend on it; the civil duty of tax payment should not be treated with levity. It gives us a sense of belonging.
“In the years ahead, we shall be more stringent to ensure that that obligation is achieved. We are trying to average in all the sub-sectors of the economy – education, agriculture, health, name them and, therefore, you cannot say anyone has been neglected; all these sub units are adequately attend to.”
In a remark, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Chukwuma Nwazunku, noted that the 2014 budget was structured to ensure increase in the internally generated revenue, IGR, adding that the policies of the present administration were targeted at ensuring speedy development of all the sub-sectors of the economy.
He called on politicians not to rupture the existing peace in the state because of the forthcoming 2015 general election.