Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has made a case for channeling domestic savings to development financing instruments to spur development.
The governor said this when he chaired the session on development financing at the induction of new and returning governors into the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), in Abuja.
The governor argued that the N200 billion investment in agriculture, which contributed to wrestling Nigeria out of recession, was enough testament to the need to deploy development financing to revitalise the Nigerian economy.
According to Obaseki, “The Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund, which we are investors as governors, has leveraged N5 billion that we have given them to drive development in this country. It would make sense for us to take much of our domestic savings into our Sovereign Wealth Fund so that we can leverage more investment in our various states. The Central Bank, the Sovereign Wealth Fund and other development institutions have done well in the area of agriculture.
“With N200 billion, we have been able to invest in agriculture and move the country out of recession. Does it not make more sense for us to commit more of our resources to develop our states.”
Noting that there was a need for states to channel funds to initiatives that guarantee greater returns and impacts for the people, he said, “Why should we be spending $6bn a year importing petroleum products. Does it not make more sense to use some of that money for development financing that would affect more Nigerians? The task is for us, the class of 2019, to make the case to get more funding available to development financing institutions so that we, in turn, can get financing to drive projects in our states.
Meanwhile, the governor has hailed the immense contribution of workers in the state to the development strides recorded in the last two and half years of his administration, noting that their dedication, dexterity and focus in transforming the state deserve commendation.
He restated the state government’s commitment to paying the new minimum wage of N30,000, noting that modalities were already in place to ratify the increase.
The governor said this in commemoration of Workers’ Days, a celebration of labourers and the working class promoted by the International Labour Movement, marked every May 1. It is also known as May Day or Labour Day.
The governor said the state government was committed to the welfare of workers and has demonstrated it with the reforms and revamp of infrastructure to assure a better work environment, work-life balance and after service benefits.
According to him, “As we celebrate Workers’ Day, we appreciate the dedication, dexterity and steadfastness of Edo workers in transforming the state. We reiterate our commitment to building a globally-competitive workforce and commit to sustaining revamp of the civil service.
“We will achieve this by remodelling the workplace, including the state secretariat; transitioning our workers to digital platforms for efficiency and sustaining health and pension reforms to serve them better.”
He reiterated the state government’s decision not to sack workers but to retrain them to be more efficient and abreast with the latest trends in their field of expertise, noting, “We have reached an advanced stage in the construction of a building for staff training and have secured partnership with international organisations on capacity building for workers, including the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). This will help in building a globally-competitive workforce.”
He added that the pension reforms have ensured that workers are migrated to the contributory pension scheme, which guarantees a better life during active service and in retirement.
ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR