Festus Ahon – Asaba
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said on Saturday that key economic measures must be taken by both the federal and state governments in order to pull Nigeria out of poverty.
He said the country must diversify its economy and change its over-reliance on oil.
The vice president said the reliance on oil is not only unsustainable but also incapable of creating jobs and building enduring infrastructure that would support rapid economic growth for the country.
Osinbajo, who spoke at the 18th Joint Planning Board and National Council on Development Planning meeting in Asaba, Delta State, stressed the need for the federal, state and local governments to collaborate in the fight against poverty in the country.
According to him, a synergy among the three-tier of government was imperative so that citizens will be productively engaged and lifted out of poverty.
He urged states in the country to improve tax administration and widen the tax nets to make it easier for people to pay taxes and spur development.
He commended the organisers for the theme of the meeting: “State Fiscal Sustainability and Economic Diversification in Nigeria,” adding that the theme was timely and at the core of governance at all levels.
Osinbajo said: “Over the years, the level of funding at the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) has fluctuated and federal revenue, including annual Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), cannot meet the needed development in the states.
“So, states must overcome these fiscal challenges that they face by engaging in fiscal strategic planning and identify areas they have comparative advantages.
“They should also take advantage of the entrepreneur skills of Nigerians by empowering economic clusters of small businesses with infrastructure, tools, and equipment.”
The Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, who also spoke at the meeting, said it was imperative for state chief executives to imbibe the culture of fiscal discipline, pointing out that without such, there would be no fiscal sustainability.