A committee headed by Kayode Fayemi, the Chairman of the Nigeria’s Governors’ Forum, has begun preparation of a plan that will bestow full control of solid minerals in Nigeria on states, the Federal Government disclosed on Monday.
Ernest Umakhihe, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance, made the declaration at a retreat for critical stakeholders in national planning and developmental strategies held on Monday.
The retreat jointly put together by the Senate Committee on National Planning and Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning aimed at achieving a common consent on the way forward for the country’s development.
Umakhihe made the statement in response to comments by the panellists at the technical session who castigated the current domineering control of the Federal Government on the nation’s resources.
They also requested an arrangement that would empower state governments to generate revenue that would enable them meet the needs of the people.
On the panel were Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, his Kebbi State counterpart, Atiku Bagudu, and a former Chairman of the National Planning Commission, Prof Ode Ojowu.
They reached a unanimous agreement that a strong, all-inclusive and sustainable national policy that would guarantee active involvement of government at all levels was needed to address diverse socio-economic problems faced by Nigeria at the moment.
Umakhihe assured that the reliance of state governments on monthly allocation from the Federal Government would soon end, given that certain aspects of resource control are currently being addressed.
He said: “State governments should get their priority right. Planning should not be purely based on revenue allocation. States should device better way of generating revenue to meet the basic needs of their people.
“The emphasis at the National Economic Council is the diversification of the economy such that states would become self-sufficient without relying heavily on the allocation from the federation account before they can execute some of their agenda.
“At the NEC level, a committee chaired by Governor Kayode Fayemi is already working on how states can key into the exploration of solid mineral resources in their states.
“By the time the report of the committee would be ready, we would have states that would be able to exploit the solid mineral resources in their states and this would shore up their revenue profile.”
Fayemi, during his contribution, called on the National Assembly to draft a bill that would compel an incoming administration to continue the laudable projects and policies of an outgoing administration.
In his words, “What we now did in Ekiti State was to put in place a transition law. It is not a unique law; other countries have it.”
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