By Peter Okutu
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, weekend, stated that his administration has a target of lifting over 60, 000 Ebonyi residents out of poverty with profit and capital base of N1m each.David Umahi
The Governor who stated this while delivering a lecture titled: “Preparing Ebonyi State for Tomorrow’s Zero Oil Economy” during the 59th Founders’ Day Celebration of University of Nigeria at Princess Alexandria Auditorium and Unity Hall, Nsukka Campus added that the over 60,000 Ebonyians will have a cash profit balance of N60 billion by 2023.
According to Umahi, with proper investment in physical and human development, Nigeria can survive without relying on oil and may even grow faster.
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“One way to do this would be to ensure that all revenues from oil are applied only to infrastructure development. It is sub-optimal for Nigeria to be using its oil wealth to fund recurrent expenditure. This promotes a dependency culture that stifles innovation, creativity and productivity. It also encourages a bloated governance system with the attendant high cost of governance.
“If we are to insist that recurrent expenditure must be funded from non-oil revenue, it will focus the minds of governments a lot more and drive productivity. It will also make the imperative to improve tax collection more urgent, which will, in turn, drive accountability as citizens start to ask what is being done with the taxes they pay.
“In Ebonyi, we have started preparing, as Confucius advised. The journey will be a long and difficult one but we are laying the foundations for sustained economic growth and prosperity in our state, beyond the era of oil.”
Umahi added that “We have made the modest strides we have made in our state through a combination of prudence, preparation for the future and diversification of our economy beyond oil. We stretch out our hand in partnership with everyone that is willing and able to partner with us on this journey, including this reputable university.
“In all, the most outstanding legacies our government will want to leave will be in lifting over 60,000 Ebonyians out of poverty with Profit and a Capital base of N1 million each. This means that 60,000 Ebonyians will have a cash profit balance of 60Billion Naira by 2023.
“We invite you to come and be part of this exciting phase of our development. We invite you to Ebonyi State where our welcome is always warm, our food is always tasty and our future is full of promise,” Umahi said.