19 February 2013

Nigeria: Ekweremadu Re-Echoes Call for Fiscal Federalism, Diversification of the Economy

The Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, has renewed the call for introduction of fiscal federalism to allow states to develop their mineral resources.

Ekweremadu made this known in Abuja on Tuesday after the Senate mandated its Committee on Solid Minerals to embark on a holistic assessment of solid minerals development in Nigeria.

The resolution was sequel to a motion by Sen. Abu Ibrahim (CPC- Katsina) on the development of solid minerals sector as a panacea to the bankruptcy of some states and creation of jobs.

Ekweremadu decried the current trend in which states depended on the Federal Government for their survival.

He said, "In a situation where the Federal Government appropriated everything to themselves and then feeding the rest of the states like a baby is really not sustainable.

"So, it is important that we begin to think about it on how to ensure that we will run our federal system in the best way as others are running their federal system.

"It is important at this stage for us to find a way to engage this subject in such a way that we will be able to have what is actually called a true federalism.

"This will enable every part of Nigeria to exploit the resources that God has given to them and contribute to the centre which is the standard practice in most federal states."

Sen. Ahmed Lawan (ANPP- Yobe) said the Federal Government had failed to account for the funds sourced through the Natural Resources Development Fund (NRDF)

Lawal said if judiciously utilised, the money would have helped to empower the sector to create jobs for the teeming population of unemployed youths in the country.

"About N873 billion was deposited in the NRDF account, but sadly, nobody can account for this money. Substantial part of the amount has been used to service other sectors of the economy.

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