RATHER than depend on handouts from the Federation Account; states have been advised to explore their areas of strength to shore up Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) base.
Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele, who gave the counsel, noted that looking inward remained a viable alternative to make the states viable in the face of the dwindling oil cash.
Emefiele said: “I do not think states can’t be viable. They were self- sustaining in the days of regions. I don’t like states coming to Abuja with pan in hands.
“We’ve abandoned agriculture. Everybody is now depending on oil. States can be viable if they leverage on their advantage.”
The apex bank boss spoke on Monday evening when he received Osun State Governor Gboyega Oyetola in his office.
Oyetola was at the CBN to request support for his programmes, especially in the areas of agriculture, Youth Entrepreneureship and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
In the governor’s entourage were some of the officials superintending as administrators of ministries. The included: Dr. Charles Akindiji Akinola, Mr. Bola Oyebamiji, Mr. Remi Omowaiye, House of Representatives member Israel Ajibola and Chief Press Secretary (CPS) Adeniyi Adesina.
The governor, who told his host that the state has programmes with potential to generate jobs in agriculture and mining, requested for support in form of loans for small scale entrepreneurs and farmers.
He said his government plans an economic summit within the first quarter of next year to address its development and to make progress in job creation. He said the summit will also address the plan to raise revenue.
Besides, there is a plan to establish nine farm centres in the nine federal constituencies, he added.
Oyetola said: “Osun has the largest deposit of mineral resources especially gold but we have not been able to harness it for the full benefit of our people and the government. We want to streamline the artisan mining among other steps that we are taking to lift the economy of this state.
“We need support for the SMEs and the Youth entreprenurship programme.”
The governor lauded Emefiele for stabilising the naira and for his achievements so far, saying: “I’m not surprised because of your impressive antecedent.”
Emefiele promised to support the state within the ambit of CBN programmes, adding that he had known the governor for many years as a man of integrity and competence when he was a private sector player.
He said the plan to streamline the artisan miners and youth emterprenurship will receive the full support of the CBN.
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Mines & Steel Development Minister Bawa Bwari also promised to assist the state in organising artisan miners to enable the state get the full benefit of the large deposit of gold and other mineral resources in its domain.
“We are willing to partner the state as appropriate,” he said during a visit to his office also on Monday by the governor.
The minister described the visit of the governor to his ministry less than one month after assuming office, as “an indication of the seriousness you’ve taken your role.”
Oyetola told the minister of his plan to take the full advantage of the mineral resources in the state for the benefit of the people and government of Osun State.
He said the state had about 16 mining licences which are not being utilised.
The governor also visited Works, Power & Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola, Finance Minister Hajiya Zainab Ahmed and Qatar Ambassador to Nigeria Abdulaziz bin Mubarak Al-Muhannadi.