*Urges Nigerians to be ready for sacrifice
The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on Friday said the era of unearned revenues has come to an end as he urged Nigerians to be ready to sacrifice for a country that must survive the present economic challenges.
The Governor, in a New Year broadcast relayed on state television and radio, prayed that the year will be peaceful and usher in fresh opportunities, goodness, prosperity and abundance to all and sundry.
Aregbesola, on the current slump in world oil prices, said 2015 witnessed dwindling national economic fortunes, adding that the pillaging of the national treasury that began with the ousted regime was compounded by continued drop in oil prices.
He stated that the effect of the sharp reduction is that the distributable pool of the Federation Accounts that hit a zenith of N1.2 trillion in 2012 dropped to a new low of N369 billion in November allocations shared in December 2015.
Aregbesola pointed out that the implication for the Nigerian governments at the federal, states and local levels is that revenue derivable from the Federation Accounts, as the basis for running government, has been reduced to little or nothing.
He said, “The era of unearned revenue has come to an end. We are now entering into a new and special period where it is imperative for us to work for our own money before we can spend it. This period demands innovation, creativity, productivity, industry and wealth creation.
“I am therefore asking of you all, that whatever your vocation may be, you must work harder, be innovative and double your productivity from now on. Whatever your estate, you need to do more than before,” The Governor emphasised
Aregbesola, who said no one must be idle again, advocated serious engagements in farming and skill acquisition, instead of relying on general academic qualifications in order to take advantage of the special period the country is in.
He said that in that past year, his administration in spite of dire financial challenges, had fulfilled its obligations to the people by providing security, healthcare, education and enhanced environment for economic activities.
According to him, “You will recall that many of our legacy schools were completed and commissioned in 2015. Our administration’s flagship high school, Wole Soyinka Government High School, in Ejigbo, was also commissioned.
”We signed many MOU with reputable institutions, including the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, the French government and a Chinese consortium for huge developmental programmes and job creation to bring giant developmental strides for our state and people.”
The Governor noted that every challenge brings its own opportunities and fresh opportunities are waiting to be tapped in the present economic challenges.
He noted that what is only required is that people reach into their natural God-given ingenuity and endowments in order to survive the period.
He added that Osun is already working in the areas of agriculture, solid mineral development, tourism and manufacturing.
Aregbesola held that the history of development has shown that humans are the primal agent of development, adding that development begins with thinking and coming up with ideas.
”Federal Government has spoken with some assurances on the challenges facing the nation. I am assuring you that solutions are being sought to the nation’s financial problems and effort is being made to cushion the effect, one of which was loans provided for states last year to offset the backlog of salary arrears.
“We must support them in our own way by working hard, create wealth and adding value to the commonwealth more than we take from it. It has also become necessary that you maximally support the government by paying your taxes, rates, levies and fines to the government.
“Every government is established on the sound foundation that it will be upheld and sustained with the taxes of the people. People place legitimate demands on their government only because they have a sense of ownership that comes from supporting that government with tax payment”. The Governor stated in the broadcast.