22 September 2015, Abuja – The Director-General, Debt Management Office, Dr. Abraham Nwankwo, on Monday said the decline in the prices of crude oil was a permanent phenomenon.
Nwankwo said this in a paper entitled: ‘Deploying public debt management operations to enhance fiscal balance of states’ at a forum organised by the African Heritage Institution in Enugu.
He said Nigeria had squandered the opportunity provided by several decades of easy oil money for sustainable physical and human capital development.
In the same vein, he warned that state governments had no other choice than to increase their internally generated revenue.
Government at all levels should, henceforth, stop paying lip service to the need for economic diversification, he added.
“The collapse in the oil price is permanent; so, we have no choice than to develop a structured plan for survival. Every state of the federation should work hard towards dependence on its internally generated revenue – minerals are scattered in every state of the federation,” Nwankwo said.
He added that “the poorest state in terms of resources base is richer in resources than Israel,” which had become one of the most developed nations in the world despite having little or no natural resources.
According to him, IGR should form the main resource base of the states, instead of federal allocations, which he said should be considered as “exceptional in-flows.”
Nwankwo also spoke on the need for regional alliances among states for joint capital projects to enable them achieve fiscal and economic viability.
“It is important for states in particular regions to work together and collaborate on projects that are ordinarily difficult, but will be easier when executed collectively; that way, they could enjoy economics of scale,” he added.
The DMO boss stressed the need for a master plan to turn around the economy, which he said had fallen flat.