Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has called for the creation and boosting of new sources of export in Nigeria’s bid to meet the yearning and aspiration of Nigerians just as he demanded a fair and just revenue sharing formula.
Speaking through his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, at the opening ceremony of the Federations Accounts Allocation Committee’s Retreat being hosted by Lagos State, he declared: “We must do everything within our power to create and boost new sources of export, especially along the lines of value-added agriculture and manufacturing.’’
He urged state governments to “explore ways of reducing dependency on what comes from the federation account on monthly basis by adopting creative and innovative strategies to boost IGR.’’
While calling for innovative strategies by state governments in the area of internally generated revenue, the governor called for “a new fair and just revenue-sharing formula for federation revenues.’’
He added: “There is actually a correlation between an appropriate revenue formula and the ability of federating units to achieve a meaningful diversification and sustainable growth in IGR.’’
Declaring further that Lagos deserved a special status funding, Sanwo-Olu said “Lagos shoulders a heavy burden, which if not properly discharged poses great danger to the attainment of our national economic growth aspirations.’’
He stated that Lagos needed help if it was to be able to meet the challenges of half a million people migrating into Lagos daily.
According to the governor, the new revenue formula should take cognisance of population density in addition to nominal population while also increasing Lagos’s share of VAT.
He decried Lagos getting 10% of VAT while contributing 55% as equitable.
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Finance, Budget & National Planning, Hajia Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, while praising the synergy between the federal and all other tiers of government urged states to consider IGR as a critical instrument of funding by blocking leakages and ensure effective and efficient collection of revenue.
She further stated that the introduction of State’s Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability, SFIAS, in partnership with World Bank was to strengthen fiscal discipline and financial stability.
She added that a regime of peer learning will help states in revenue drive.
While acknowledging states’ interest and efforts to meet the eligibility criteria and conditions for Disbursement Linked Indicators, the minister said states would soon benefit from the grants.
She further explained that the Federal Government was committed to achieving a revenue to GDP rate 15% in the medium term adding that there would be efforts to improve investment in agriculture and industry as well as curtail imports.
In his welcome address, Benue State Commissioner for Finance who is also the Chairman, Forum of Commissioners of Finance, David Olofu, described the retreat as a training for all new members.
He noted that the retreat’s theme, Efficient Federation Revenue Allocation as a Nexus for Economic Diversification was a pointer to the “need for a synchronised consistent and sustained effort at all levels to diversify the economy and provide opportunities for our people.’’