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By Chris Nomjov
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has tasked state governments to engage in activities that will boost their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to augment their income.
Mohammed gave advice at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja.
This charge is coming on the back of recent complaints by the Governors’ Forum, which called on the federal and state governments as well as the organised labour to agree on a realistic minimum wage for workers in the face of dwindling revenue from oil sales.
According to him, the situation is what it is today because Nigeria has depended on oil for too long.
“What the governors are saying is very simple; they are saying: `we used to receive X amount of money before, but now we are receiving much less’.
“I am told that a state received N55 million in the last Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) distribution. Million, million not billion; 55 million. Now, I don’t think the governors are saying they won’t pay N18,000.
“The governors are saying, `we have problems’, and I think solutions will be for the governors and the organised labour to sit down.
“They should not discuss at a distance. They should sit down and discuss, let the governors present their case, let the labour look at it and let them reach an amicable solution.
“But the bottom line, frankly speaking, is that for too long we’ve depended on fuel.
“Oil has crashed from $104 to $38 and if you look at the forecast, it might not go beyond $40 or $42 next year, because with Iran back in the loop and America with the Shale oil and Shale Gas, it will be a miracle if the price jumps up in the next few months.
“However, what states can do also, in my view, is probably to invest more in their tax drive.
“Every state now must understand that it is not helpful to rely solely on the federal revenue.
“States’ Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) must be looked into, but of course I always realise that the more tax people pay the more they also expect from government.
Meanwhile, Ondo state has reportedly generated N10 billion naira, as Internally Generated Revenue, since the start of the year
Making the laudable disclosure in Akure, Mr Akin Akinsehinwa, Chairman, Ondo State Board of Internally Generated Revenue, (IGR), said that the figure was 85 per cent of the amount targeted for the year.
He said that the state had to intensify efforts on IGR because of the dwindling resources accruing to it from the Federation Account.
“We have been swimming against the tide since January because of the drastic drop in amount we get from the federation account; this has adverse effects on the economy of the state.
“Being a civil service state, this has led to irregular payment of workers’ salaries and has hindered the flow of income to the board.
“When economic activities are not booming we are constrained to adjust and slow down a bit so that we do not put too much pressure on the citizenry,” he said.
According to him, the amount generated came mainly from government ministries, departments and agencies.