*By Kazeem Awojoodu, Ibadan.
Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, on Tuesday, said that his government will access 1.68 per cent Development of Natural Resources Fund (DNRF), with the aim of revamping, revitalizing and repositioning the state’s economy.
He added that it would help his administration to do more in developing the state.
reports that the Governor in a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa indicated that the governor stated this while playing host to the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, led by the Chairman, Fiscal Efficiency and Budget Committee, Alhaji Adamu Shettima Yuguda, at the Government House, Ibadan, Oyo State.
The governor maintained that the fund would be injected into the development of tourism, solid mineral resources and trade through infrastructure for the betterment of the state, and set legacy for coming administrations.
He said: “I am happy that you have acceded to the request to come to Oyo State. At least, you can see us in our basic elements and I have seen your programme. You have the opportunity to see the state as we are.
“We are focused on three major areas in our request. On tourism, if you look at the suspended lake at Ado Awaye, it is only two in the entire world. One is here and one is in the United States. We hope to develop ours and we have fixed the road to develop it from Moniya to Iseyin, and you are going to pass on that road as you are going on. You can see the vision while driving towards that side.
“Also, in Oyo State, just like in Zamfara, we are blessed with solid natural resources. So, we are also looking at development in that area.
“As you pass towards the road to Ado Awaye as well, look at your right and left, we have lithium; and lithium is basically the gold for the future because all these electric vehicles, which is the way the world is moving towards as far as vehicle transportation is concerned, they will be run by batteries made from lithium. We believe we are seating on the future gold. So, we want to develop on that.
“Also, on trade, I understand you want to visit the Bola Ige International Market. When you visit, you will see the bus terminals that we are currently building.
Every time you go to the airport, you see people coming from Amsterdam. When they put down their bags, you see the inscription ‘see, buy and fly’. That is what they write on the bag. But here in Oyo State, as you pass by, we want you to see, ‘stay if possible and spend some money within our environment here.’
“So, accessing this fund for us will allow us to even do more and I am glad that our own representative at RMAFC is here. I did not appoint him but he was appointed by the previous administration. But for us, we know that players of politics will come and go but our state will remain.
“So, we are working together not minding where we are on the political divide because we know our state is our state and whatever we do, the people coming behind us will take it up from whatever we have been able to achieve.
“If we build 10 kilometres of road and we built it solidly, the next people coming don’t need to do up to that. They can add 5 kilometres to it or even 20 kilometres. So, that is why we have made that request and I am glad that you have been firm and fair to us.”
Earlier in his address, the Chairman Fiscal Efficiency and Budget Committee of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Alhaji Shettima, stated that the visit was part of the requirements for accessing the requested funds, adding that the aim of establishing the 1.68 per cent DNRF is to achieve resource diversification and provide alternative source of revenue to all the three tires of government in Nigeria.
He however eulogized the great achievements of the Makinde-led administration within two years, despite the challenges of COVID-19 that devastated the Nigerian economy and Oyo State in particular.
He said: “I consider it a great honour on behalf of the Chairman of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Engr. Elias N. Mbam, FNSE, to express our gratitude to Your Excellency for hosting the Fiscal Efficiency and Budget Committee and the Secretariat on this Courtesy call. I would also want to appreciate and thank Your Excellency for the hospitality accorded to the team on our arrival.
“Your Excellency, you may wish to recall that on 25th August, 2021, the Oyo State Government under your able leadership made a request to the commission to access the sum of one hundred and twelve billion, three hundred and fifty million naira only (N112,350,000,000.00) from the 1.68 per cent Development of Natural Resources Fund (DNRF) grant for projects aimed at revamping, revitalizing and repositioning the State’s economy for self-sufficiency, through the 20-year Oyo State Development Plan (OSDP).
“Permit me at this juncture, Your Excellency, to mention that the 1.68 per cent Development of Natural Resources Fund is one of the items under the Special Fund established by the Revenue Allocation (Federation Account, etc.) Act, CAP A15 LFN 2004.
The Fund receives direct allocation from the Federation Account on a monthly basis which is added to the share of the Federal Government of Nigeria to be kept in trust for the three-tiers of Government.
The aim of establishing the 1.68 per cent DNRF is to achieve resource diversification and provide alternative source of revenue to all not only to the Federal Government but the other two tiers of Government.
“Consequently, to access funds from the Account, the Commission has an established procedure which requires a formal presentation by the state making the request to the Commission. The Commission, through its Committee on Fiscal Efficiency & Budget, will undertake a physical visit to verify and certify the reliability of the issues contained in the letter of request as well as those raised during the presentation.
“Your Excellency Sir, permit me to associate myself and Members of this Committee to the great achievements of your administration within two years despite the challenges of Covid-19 that has devastated the Nigerian economy and Oyo State in particular.
“Let me conclude that while the Committee under my leadership will ensure fairness and equity in making sound recommendation for the State, I will like to say that the Committee will be guided by the objective of the Development of Natural Resource Fund.”