(NAN) Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has called on governments in the North-East zone to diversify their revenue bases by investing in the non-oil sectors of the economy.
Chairman of the commission, Chief Elias Mbam, made the call on Monday in Gombe in an address he delivered at a workshop on Economic Diversification and Enhanced Revenue Generation for the North-East zone.
“I wish to enjoin governments in the North-East Zone to build strong economic ties through the promotion of regional collaboration by exploring areas of comparative advantage.
“Governments at all levels in the zone should strengthen all legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks to provide the enabling environment to attract local investors and Foreign Direct Investment that would boost the non-oil sectors.
“The Commission wishes to implore governments in the zone, and indeed all stakeholders, to shift their focus to the real sectors of the economy.
“Particularly agriculture, solid minerals, manufacturing and tourism which have declined over the years,” he said.
Mbam explained that the non-oil sectors were capable of generating substantial revenue earnings to reduce budgeting and financial challenges being faced by all tiers of government in the zone.
In his remark, Gov. Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe expressed concern that despite its natural and human resource endowments, Nigeria still relied on crude oil export as its major source of revenue,its development challenges not withstanding.
He urged the Federal Government to harness the resources of the country wisely by utilising the country’s abundant resources to develop the economy.
“Diversification of the economy is the only panacea for the socio-economic development of our country.
The governor said that he signed the Fiscal Responsibility Bill into law in order to block all leakages in revenue collection and enhance prudence and transparency in financial transactions.
In their various messages, the representatives of the governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Taraba and Yobe, said that their governments were making efforts to diversify their revenue sources.
According to them, this is with a view to compliment funds received from the monthly federal allocation.
Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno, who was represented by his deputy, Alhaji Umar Mustapha, urged the governors of the zone to collectively fashion out areas of need and proffer solutions for the developmental needs of the zone.
In his remark, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Adamawa, Mr Geofrey Garba, who represented Gov. Murtala Nyako, called for the review of the revenue allocation formula in favour of states and local governments.
Gov. Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State, represented by Alhaji Aminu Hammayo, the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, said the state was harnessing its potentials in agriculture, tourism and mineral resources to diversify its revenue.
Chief of Staff, Government House, Jalingo, Alhaji Ahmed Yusuf, who represented the Acting Governor of Taraba, Alhaji Garba Umar, said that the state was looking inward to harness the vast potentials in agriculture, tourism and solid minerals.
“This is besides the multi-billion Naira Mambilla hydroelectricity project being embarked upon to boost power,’’ he said.
Yobe Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam, who was represented by the Commissioner of Education, Alhaji Mohammed Lamin, stressed the need to increase revenue allocation to the states and local governments to meet developmental challenges in the region.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a communique is expected to be issued at the end of the workshop. (NAN)