The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) yesterday has warned the returning and newly elected state governors that recession may come in 2020 and so they should prepare ahead for tough times in their respective states.
The chairman of the group and governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, warned that there may be another cycle of recession from mid-2020 to the third quarter of 2021, the Guardian reports.
He gave the advice at the induction programme organised for the old and new governors at the NGF Secretariat, State House Conference Center, Abuja yesterday.
The NGF chairman told his colleagues that it would not be a smooth ride when they begin a new administration in their states.
“On our part, we made a lot of achievement in infrastructural development and provision of social services because we enjoyed a relatively high oil price of about €89.24 to €101.74 per barrel between 2001 and the middle of 2014.
“However, by the mid-2014, the price of crude oil, which is sadly the main driving force of government’s expenditure, dropped to €66.93 per barrel. It, therefore, became very difficult for many states to even pay salaries of their workers.
“This scenario is a wake-up call for all of you to be prepared to face this kind of challenge, especially since there is the possibility of another cycle of recession by mid-2020 and which may last up to the third quarter of 2021. Your good spirit of stewardship will make you contain the situation should there be one. Also, as members of the National Economic Council (NEC), you must work hand-in- hand to boost the economy in tandem with the global best practices.
Speaking further, he said:
“Experience, they say, is the best teacher. Ours has been a challenging experience of managing state economies that are totally dependent on accruals from the federation account rather than exploring viable alternatives to run the economy.
For most of the states, internally generated revenues are nothing to write home about. You must, therefore, look inward by boosting your revenue generation and also utilize them effectively for execution of projects that will touch the lives of your people. You must not forget the high expectations of our people from us; now that the democracy is maturing daily, the challenges of governance and service delivery are more demanding,” Yari said:
“Borrowing is never a reliable alternative to solving our economic problems. Key revenue agencies like the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigeria Custom Service must be made to work more effectively now that Mr. President has signed the much awaited national minimum wage law, pegging the minimum workers salary at N30,000 per month.”
He urged the incoming governors to strengthen tax laws to encourage Nigerians to pay.