By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mr. Ernest A. Umakhihe has called on State Governments in the country to make conscious efforts at diversifying their economic/revenue base.
According to a statement by the Director of Press in the Ministry, Mrs Victoria Agba-Attah, the Permanent Secretary made the call at the opening of the meeting of the Joint Planning Board (JPB) in Asaba, on Tuesday.
He said, “the Country’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP) had constantly, indicated that the Oil & Gas sector dominate other sectors in terms of contribution to the national GDP” while other important sectors like Agriculture, Manufacturing, Wholesale and Retails trade have remained insignificant.
Umakhihe who urged the States to tap into the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS) of the Central Bank of Nigeria, added that the Scheme is intended to provide N1.5Billion loan to each State government to enable them engage youths in Commercial Agriculture.
He described as apt the theme of this year’s meeting, “States’ Fiscal Sustainability and Economic Diversification in Nigeria” considering the States’ potentials to easily diversify its economic base.
Speaking on the way forward, the Permanent Secretary urged States on the need to concentrate on Agriculture, Manufacturing, Industrialization and Commercial activities and replicate the economic policies of the Federal Government in their respective States in order to consolidate and sustain the success achieved so far.
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Delta State Ministry of Economic Planning, Mr. Odhogbi emphasized the role of planning to development generally, adding that development indices should not only be tied so much to generated statistical data, but to the actual trickle-down effect of development and how it transforms the general wellbeing of the people.
According to him, there must be deliberate and concerted effort of government at the National and State levels, while also identifying and taking full advantage of other revenue sources yet to be tapped, if fiscal sustainability and economic diversification must be achieved.
The Secretary to the Delta State Government Mr. Chiedu Ebie, represented by Dr. Barry Pere Gbe, Commissioner for Economic Planning, who declared the event open pledged the commitment of the Delta State Government to grow its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and enhance its revenue base