Obaseki advocates diversification of revenue away from crude oil dependence
The Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki has called for a quick diversification of the Nigeria’s economy to boost non-oil revenue.
This is coming on the heels of controversy between the governor and the federal government over the former’s recent revelations on the economic challenges confronting the nation.
Obaseki, while speaking to journalists in Benin, expressed worry over Nigeria’s dependence on crude oil to pilot the affairs of government.
“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.
“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 said.
He also stressed the need for government to create an enabling environment for citizens to thrive.
“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.
Continuing, he said “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”.