The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), pushes for the financial independence of states from the Federal Government, noting the current limitations in government spending ability.
Stating this was the Chairman, NESG, Asue Ighodalo, at a High-Level Dialogue with Conference of Speakers State Legislatures of Nigeria, highlighting the need for states to devise “ingenious” ways to generate revenue.
Ighodalo said that the reliance on the Federal Government for funding can be managed by states’ self-reflection and the use of their individual comparative advantages.
He said, “It is key that each state starts looking inwards on where it has comparative advantage and in those circumstances, they now have to come up and enact laws that allow them to take advantage of these areas where they have a comparative advantage.
“The days of going cap-in-hand with the federal government for FAAC and fund requests are fast gone, the resources of the federal government are tight, revenue hasn’t gone up nationwide.
“States have to start becoming ingenious as to where they will find revenue, resources, and corollary to that really is that states must make themselves attractive to investments so that they are in a position to task those businesses and the multiplier effect of those businesses being in their states must be felt.
“So, there is a lot of work to be done, I think one of the things we haven’t taken advantage of is what are we strong at? If we look at the 36 states, what can we do better than the next state, and how do we work on the things we are strong at?
“We need to go back to states galloping at development and there being positive and competitive peer pressure and then seeing the states all developing at pace, it is critical to the development of our country.
“All development is local, it starts from the grassroots, the small scale businesses all start from the grassroots, so we need to support and create the environment for all of that.”