Why States must no longer depend on monthly Federal Allocation – Nasarawa Gov

… As Nasarawa organizes investment forum in May!

Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has emphasized the need for states in the country to look inwards with a view to generating internal revenue, as it’s no longer feasible for states to solely depend on monthly federal subvention.

Engineer Sule made this known while fielding questions as a guest on Channels Television, as monitored in Lafia, on Monday.

While acknowledging that the proposed 41 percent sharing formula between the federal, state and local governments, will bring about significant improvement in the areas of infrastructure and managing both states and local governments, still it will not be able to address the myriads of challenges confronting the States.

According to the governor, even with the anticipated increase in the sharing formula, there is the need for states to braze up and devise means of generating internal revenue to be able to exist independent of federal allocation.

He pointed out that even though the states, through the agency of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), are in support of jerking up the sharing formula to 41 percent, still when approved, the anticipated increase will not be able to the problems being confronted by the states.

“This is going to address just a few areas, especially in the areas of SRA, the salaries and rest of that. But when we come to infrastructure, the states must find ways to generate revenue. That’s the only way you can address most of the problems and lapses that we are having,” he stated.

On whether the states are doing enough to optimize on the abundant mineral resources found in each of the 36 states of the country, Engineer Sule agreed that most of the states have great potentials but that these are not being explored.

He cited an example with Nasarawa State where despite its proximity to the Federal Capital, it was among the least revenue generating states.

“When we came in 2019, the state generated a revenue of a little over N7bn for the whole year. That’s just an average of a little over, N500m monthly. That’s nothing to talk about. We didn’t even go into exploring new avenues of revenue, what we did was just to go and plug some of the leakages in the first year. By 2020, our revenue base actually rose to somewhere around 11bn that year and by 2021, our revenue base grew to N16.9bn,” he explained.

Engineer Sule said Nasarawa State is in position to generate N30bn annually.

He said it has even become necessary for the states to look inward because of challenges posed by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, with states now forced to pay back monies given by the Federal Government as intervention at the height of the pandemic.

The Governor said that informed the decision of his administration to host an investment summit which will hold from the 11-12 May, where it is expected the state will showcase its potentials before investors.

“A lot of states have great potentials, but until we look at those potentials, we cannot continue to look at the Federal Government as a means of revenue. We have to look inwards, and I think that is what most of the states are doing,” Engineer Sule said.

He explained that explains why his administration is focusing on attracting big commercial agribusinesses into the state, as well as investors interested in mining, adding that adequate steps have been taken to ensure ease of doing business in the state.

“We decided to start attracting and promoting big commercial businesses coming into the state because our state is a mining state, an agricultural state, we decided to focus more and more into those areas and attracting the big businesses like the Dangote agribusiness, the Flour Mills, Azman, agribusiness and Olams Nigeria Limited,” he stated.

He added that his administration is putting measures on the ground as the government focuses on its areas of strength, especially in the areas of agriculture and mining, with the youth essentially the target.

“Nasarawa State has been lucky to be closer to the FCT and has attracted huge amount of youth in addition to the ones we already had. Yet, Nasarawa State may not bless with so many industries. Agricultural projects are the biggest opportunity for employment, the employment of our youth is our target. That is why we are focusing on technical and vocational training so that our youths will be well-equipped to work in the emerging industries,” Engineer Sule said.

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