The Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has said that its government is resuscitating moribund industries while opening up new ones for the benefit of the people.
Mr. Ugwuanyi disclosed this at the opening ceremony of the Enugu State Investment Summit, saying that the country is being affected by the current macroeconomic challenges, owing to the unprecedented decline in crude oil prices.
According to him “Government earnings have significantly declined, thus limiting government capacity to implement some of its developmental projects. Our overdependence on crude oil proceeds have made this indeed a very difficult season in our history.
We however cannot continue to make and give excuses, we have to devise alternative means to deliver on our campaign promises to our people. This we are committed to doing. We are committed to reducing cost of governance and we are committed to ensuring that we get the best value for our money.
He noted that his government has set up an Economic Advisory Committee consisting of eminent sons and daughters of the state and other states, to advise government on the best policies that will engender sustainable growth and development for the state.
“I am glad to inform you that the State is already benefiting from the rich repository of experience, knowledge, goodwill, influence and contacts of members of the Committee. “ He affirmed the state government commitment towards improving the living standards of the people of Enugu State by providing them quality services and infrastructure is being challenged by dwindling economic resources accruing to the State, especially from our portion of the FAAC Allocation.
According to him “This is expected, given the decline in global oil prices, from which the Nation derives the bulk of her financial resources. It is not surprising therefore; that the State’s receipts from the Federation Account Allocation Committee in the 2015 fiscal year fell by about 50% of what it was in the previous year.
With the declining trend in the global crude oil prices, the situation is expected to degenerate even further in the subsequent years. We therefore, owe it as an obligation to ourselves to reduce our dependence on that source of revenue by looking inwards to sources that exist within the State.”
In spite of the constraint mentioned above, we are committed to utilizing the available resources judiciously to deliver on our campaign promises to our people.
Speaking at the summit, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola said “Most of our oil resources are managed by foreign oil companies under Joint Venture Agreements where we collect a share of income, from their own operations, drilling, and production of oil, not from our own operation, drilling and production. Therefore, we have been largely rent collectors not wealth creators.”
He stated that this attitude must change if the country must progress. According to him “
On many of the global television stations, you will see advertising by nations in the United Arab Emirates like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, in Asia like Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and India, in Africa like South Africa, all campaigning for investments from around the world. Without putting us down, but while being factual, we have a lot of work ahead of us to be able to compete with these destinations for investment in terms of environment, infrastructure, medical facilities, emergency facilities.”
Fashola, however called for private public partnership to move the state forward, stressing that “ investors do not take positions on the basis of loyalty or friendship. They do so, on the basis of profit and returns, based on where their investment is most secure. The more foreign they are, the more likely they probably will move when adverse conditions prevail. The more local they are, perhaps their local ties may dictate a slowdown of investment in adverse conditions, but it is more likely to restrain a movement away from the place they call home.”
On his part, Director General of the Enugu Investment Summit Planning Committee, Mr. Ike Chioke, who spoke on the theme “Beyond Oil: Fostering Inclusive Economic Growth & Sustainable Development” said:
“We believe this event will indeed mark the beginning of full scale economic turnaround in Enugu State and the entire South-Eastern region of Nigeria. “We believe in the vision of the Executive Governor of Enugu State – His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to amongst other things promote Employment Generation, Rural Development, Social Services & Good Governance and Security & Justice. We also believe that these objectives will remain ideas in our heads if there are no practical and implementable steps to achieving them.”
He further disclosed that Enugu State is looking beyond oil, saying, “we are looking inwards to build on those historical opportunities that held us together as a people. We are looking to revive the lost glory of our coal city. We are looking to reviving our agric sector, we are looking to bringing back those hectares of lands filled with palm trees, cassava and cashew plantations. We are looking to resuscitation our palm oil milling plant, our flourmills, hotels and tourists attraction sites. We are looking to restoring the good old days.”