The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has said that the nation’s dependence on oil revenue is unsustainable.
He said this on Monday, while briefing newsmen in Benin, the Edo State Capital.
The governor urged the Federal government to diversify Nigeria’s revenue base away from crude oil.
Obaseki further explained that there is an urgent need to raise non-oil revenue, stressing that the nation’s economy remains unsustainable due to its dependence on crude oil.
“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,” Obaseki said.
He noted that it is misleading for politicians and government officials to think they know more than the citizenry, adding that the citizens took the risk of putting their hard-earned income in form of taxes in the custody of government officials.
The governor also pointed out that politicians must learn to live up to their responsibilities by creating an enabling environment for citizens to thrive.
According to him; “when they say government, what they really mean is us; it’s about how we engage with the citizens.
“The people in government think they are better and know more than the citizens. When you say something, they disagree with you because they think they are in power and know more than you.
“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.
“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.
“That is why the government must create an enabling environment for the citizens to thrive, so that from their wealth, the government can be sustained”.
Recall that the Obaseki had recently raised alarm over alleged “monetary rascality” by the federal government.
He had claimed that the country is in huge financial trouble, alleging that the government printed about N60 billion to support the federal allocation for March, 2021
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