By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—AGAINST the backdrop of the present dwindling international price of oil, the 36 state governors, yesterday, told President Muhammadu Buhari that if Nigeria must be one of the top economies of the world, there was the urgent need for the diversification of the economy.
The governors, who operate under the aegis of Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, said that diversification would help boost the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, base of the country.
Speaking in Abuja at the beginning of a two-day Internally Generated Revenue workshop organised by the NGF, Chairman of the forum and governor of Zamfara State, Abdul’aziz Yari, who noted that the solution to the declining fiscal revenue facing most states lies in the diversification of the economy, said: “Economic diversification is vital to ensuring the long-term economic growth we seek. We must ensure that we are competitive in the way we diversify our economy, and ensure that the private sector plays a stronger role going forward. This event should guide our states to share practical and effective experiences for boosting revenue generation and also provide strategies to kick-start the process.”
Yari, who was represented by Kano State governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, stressed that Nigeria’s economic challenges could be overcome when the leaders make conscious efforts “to do the right thing at the right time.”
According to the NGF Chairman, the IGR peer learning event was coming at a time the governors were expected to live up to the expectations of the electorate, and charged the attendees to mobilise the potential interaction of the resources to bridge revenue gaps.
He disclosed that NGF members have agreed to adopt the findings of the summit as an important action plan for ensuring a more robust internally generated revenue base for states, adding, “We will also expect periodic briefings from our secretariat on the status of these plans and how our states have been able to implement them.”
The governor however noted that the declining fiscal situation in Nigeria has considerably hurt the nation’s development plans.