Incoming governors, to be sworn-in on May 29, have been asked to prepare for a possible cycle of fresh recession in Nigeria.
The warning was giving by chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and outgoing Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari.
Recession is one news no Nigerian will be happy to hear again after the country in 2016 experienced one of the worst economic downturns in its history.
But Yari, who addressed the governors-elect at the opening ceremony of an induction programme for newly-elected and returning governors in Abuja this Monday, warned them to prepare for another cycle of recession.
He said, “On our part, we made a lot of achievements in infrastructural development and provision of social services because we enjoyed a relatively high oil price of about $100 to $114 per barrel between 2001 and the middle of 2014.
“However, by the mid-2014, the price of crude oil, which is sadly the main driving force of government’s expenditure, dropped to $75 per barrel. It, therefore, became very difficult for many states to even pay salaries of their workers.
“This scenario is a wake-up call for all of you to come amply prepared to face these kinds of challenges especially since we are expecting the possibility of another cycle of recession by mid-2020 and which may last up to third quarter of 2021.
“Your good spirit of stewardship will make you contain the situation should there be one. Also, as members of the National Economic Council, you must work hand in hand to boost the economy in tandem with the global best practices.
“Experience, they say, is the best teacher. Ours has been a challenging experience of managing state economies that are totally dependency on accruals from the federation account rather than exploring viable alternatives to run the economy.
“For most of the states, internally generated revenue (IGR) are nothing to write home about. You must, therefore, look inward by boosting your revenue generation base and also utilize them effectively for execution of projects that would touch the lives of your people. You must not forget the high expectations of our people on us; now that the democracy is maturing day in day out the challenges of governance and service delivery are more demanding.”
Yari, who asked the incoming governors to ensure they strengthened tax laws and ask Nigerians to try pay their taxes, added, “It is unfortunate that our people have a very negative attitude to payment of taxes in full, including corporate agencies.
“My take on this is that, as a country with over 200 million people, our individual and collective contributions in ensuring prompt payment of taxes can help the government achieve all its objectives. For us to achieve these responsibilities, we have to strengthen our tax laws and to make them very effective in our task of building a better Nigeria.
“If the necessary measures are put in place to provide a working system, I am certain that at the end of the day, we are going to succeed in tackling unemployment, reducing poverty, ensuring food security and disease control as well as building a nation with a robust economy.”
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, while also addressing the returning and incoming governors, told them that the country still had issues of poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, out-of-school children etc, staring it in the face.
To address these issues, he said they most boost their states IGR and value added tax (VAT).
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