Governor tells Nigerian government to unbundle states potentials

Eniola Ajayi, Lagos

R-L: Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, his Kebbi State counterpart, Governor Atiku Bagudu and Vice President, Professor, Yemi Osinbajo during the 4th Progressive Governance Lecture Series held in Kaduna State

 

The Nigerian government has a critical role to play in addressing the fundamental structural challenges undermining sustainable economic growth of federating states, unbundling the potentials of each of the units.

The Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi  Ambode said this at the 4th Progressive Governance Lecture Series held in Kaduna State on Thursday. It was organised by the Governors of the All Progressives Congress, (APC)

Bringing investors
According to him, “the Nigerian Government must allow the states to develop the natural resources within their domain and create the necessary infrastructure that would attract investors.”

The Governor, who spoke on the Lagos experience of de-emphasising reliance on oil, said Governors must also be encouraged to tap into multiple streams of income within their domain.

He lamented the situation whereby Governors had power over the land in their domain but could not tap into the resources under the land and even the water.

“Such must stop so that Governors could have power over both the land and resources underneath, thereby unbundling the potentials of the states.

“We need to start looking at some changes that we need to make within and among ourselves as a government irrespective of whether it is federal, state or local government that will now unbundle the potentials of each state which is the cornerstone of the whole message we are talking about,’’ Governor Ambode stated.

“There is the need for all of us to decide once and for all to unbundle the potentials of each state; take the comparative advantages of each state and fuse them together for the needs of our people.”

“Governors are the owners of the land in their states but underneath the land and even inside the water, the Nigerian Government is structured in a way that it controls those potentials. In a situation where the states are being spoon-fed, because I call the federation account more or less like spoon-feeding. The Nigerian government collects total revenue on Value Added Tax (VAT) and various revenues on behalf of all of us and make us to come to Abuja and more or less share it to us as peanuts thereby not allowing us to reach our potentials as competitive states individually,” he explained.

The Governor said that all critical actors must work together in the common interest of the
people.

“There is just one economy in this country and so we need to first of all accept the fact that there is nothing like private sector as against public sector; there is nothing like Nigerian Government as against State Government; we are working together to drive the economy of this country,” he reiterated.

The Lagos State Governor explained further that whatever the government aimed to do in terms of policy must be done in a people-friendly manner.

“Whatever that we are doing in terms of policy; what it is that we are doing in terms of what I now refer to as re-arrangement, we should now focus on people and then we should be people-friendly and that is the only way we can create that inclusive growth,” Governor Ambode added.

The theme of the Forum was ‘Building the Economy of States: Challenge of Developing Inclusively Sustainable Growth.’

Mercy Chukwudiebere