Stakeholders urge diversification of Osun economy
Besides, the government has also been urged to consider diversification of the state economy through aggressive development of key sectors including agriculture, mining and tourism.
These were part of the recommendations contained in a communiqué at the end of Osun Stakeholders Conference held on Tuesday in Osogbo, the state capital.
The conference was at the instance of a group, Osun Legislative Forum comprising all members of the National Assembly and the state House of Assembly in a bid to proffer solutions to the poor financial situation of the State and also ensure its rapid development.
The stakeholders Conference was well attended by Traditional Rulers, prominent indigenes, present and past government officials, leaders of business both formal and informal, unions, Market women, Students Union Leaders, opinion leaders, religious leaders, artisans, civil society organisations and all other relevant stakeholders in the Osun Project.
The conference observed that there has been considerable shortfall, seemingly in geometric progression in the revenue accruable to the State from the federation account since 2011 pointing out that government should plug the shortfall in receipts from the federation account.
‘’Due to economic recession in the country with its effects on most States of the Federation, some of the people oriented projects being executed by government have been slowed down while the other commitments, especially salary and emolument of workers could not be paid for few months now. There is the need to find a way forward by which the State Government would be able to execute its people friendly programmes and developmental projects.
That communiqué noted the infrastructural development of the state is essential, irrevocable and should go on without compromise within the limit of available resources adding that government should evolve all possible policies and programmes by which the economy and revenue
realisable by the state could grow.
‘’In the face of dwindling revenue from the federation account, all Osun people must resolve to collectively ensure that there is tremendous improvement in the internally generated revenue. All the people and businesses in the state must patriotically pay their taxes and rates before being compelled to do so.
‘’There is an urgent need to review the cost of governance particularly to ascertain accurately the cost of the various components, salaries, allowances and overheads encompassing recurrent expenditure of the Government of Osun. That there should be feedback mechanism on government policies and programmes so as to evolve prudence, transparency and accountability in fund management.
The government was also asked to consider diversification of the state economic base to reflect an improvement in the on-going efforts in the area of agriculture, mining and tourism using Public Private Partnerships (PPP) to realise the objectives.
‘’There should be more efforts at ensuring that government patronises more competent and efficient local contractors so as to create more wealth within the economy of the state.
In line with the objective to revisit the cost of governance, government was advised to follow up with the declared readiness of labour movement to allow verification and audit of staff strength in the state with a view to confirming actual number of workers and wage bill.
‘’Public servants in the State should be motivated to work efficiently while the government should consider reduction in the use of consultants in the execution of projects. Parents through the platform of Parents Teachers Association (PTA) should be made to contribute token to augment the laudable free education policy of the state government.