Obaseki: Nigeria’s dependence on oil revenue unsustainable
The Executive Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki has requested the federal government to diversify the nation’s revenue base away from crude oil.
Recall that the Edo state governor had recently raised alarm over alleged “monetary rascality” perpetuated by the federal government.
Obaseki stated that Nigeria is in huge financial trouble, alleging that the government printed about N60 billion to support the federal allocation for March.
The minister of finance, budget and national planning, Zainab Ahmed had dismissed the claim as false.
Speaking with reporters in Benin, the state capital, on Monday, Obaseki said there is an urgent need to increase non-oil revenue, adding that the country’s economy remains unsustainable with its dependence on crude oil.
“Before the civil war, we had no crude oil. The regions relied on the resources that they had and the government was run based on taxation, which was derived from the regions and production, particularly agricultural production in the regions,” he said.
“In the last 40 years or so, crude oil came and replaced those economic activities and earnings. So, we now run a federation relying almost exclusively on crude oil. For a country that is still hoping on crude oil, it’s only a question of time and pretending and doing all sorts of interesting and financial gymnastics to keep it going; it’s only a question of time.”
The governor added that it is misleading for politicians and government officials to think they know more than citizens.
Obaseki said citizens took the risk of putting their hard-earned income in form of taxes in the custody of government officials.
He said politicians must learn to live up to their duties by creating an enabling environment for citizens to thrive.
“When they say government, what they really mean is us; it’s about how we engage with the citizens,” he said.
“The people in government think they are better and know more than the citizens. When you say something, they disagree with you because they think they are in power and know more than you.
“We (officials of government), civil servants and politicians, because we are government, think that we know better than the people. But it’s a fallacy, because it’s the taxes these people pay from their own economic activities that will sustain us going into the future.
“It is their sweat that will pay our salaries; they cannot be foolish for them to be producing the resources that keep us. Therefore, our emphasis must be on them; we have to keep them alive.
“That is why the government must create an enabling environment for the citizens to thrive, so that from their wealth, the government can be sustained.”
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