Only a lazy Oyo state government would not aggressively pursue other sources for IGR
Oyo State Council of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture over the weekend held its annual general meeting and one thing I could take from the event was the advise given to the state by the president of the council, Olaitan Alabi, on how the state can stop depending on federal allocation it receives from the federal government monthly.
He stressed that there is urgent need for the state to explore available economic and employment opportunities. Specifically, he mentioned agriculture which he said could generate more revenue for the state than what it gets from Abuja.
It would be recalled that few months ago, the state government embarked on a state-wide campaign to drum support for one agric initiative like that – an initiative I predicted would fail woefully. Not even a partnership with IITA could rejuvenate agric in the state.
It is public secret that governance in Oyo state has been on auto-run as a result of the inability of the state to pay salaries talk less of undertake major (and minor) developmental projects. Without any doubts, things are really bad for the state no matter how much the governor’s team attempts to make us believe things are calm. Which is why I believe the council president’s advise should be taken more seriously.
He said, “Part of the functions of OYCCIMA is advocacy. From time to time, we talk to government and submit papers to it on how to improve on its financial status. It is one thing to give advice but it is another thing to heed it. If we have a situation where government cannot pay salaries because of the shortfall in Federal Allocation, it means that the state must be creative in its economic policy.
“It has to ensure an increase in its IGR and encourage agriculture as an alternative to its source of income. This is the best time to pay greater attention to agriculture. Workers will not be on strike if money is available in the state, but because we expect too much assistance from outside, that is why we are having so many problems.”
He added that apart from commercial farming, it was the priority of government to ensure food sufficiency for the people. He said it is unfortunate that the South-West states of Nigeria now rely majorly on the North for food and other agricultural products.
“We don’t have to rely on the North for food. In Oyo State, the land is arable for all kinds of crop and big enough to practise commercial agriculture. What we are saying is that onion, yam, pepper and other crops should be planted here.
“Our major problem presently is the issue of herdsmen attack on farmlands and our farmers. It’s a national problem but we have made representation to Governor Abiola Ajimobi and he is meeting farmers and the herdsmen on the issue. Things cannot continue like this,” said Alabi.
If only the government can take this advise more seriously.