The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, has urged Local Government Chairmen to create investment friendly environment to reduce their over-reliance on revenue from the federation account.
He said this in his address of welcome delivered at the opening ceremony of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria exhibition/trade fair held on Monday in Abuja.
The ALGON exhibition / trade fair, was held as part of the activities lined up to commemorate the Nigeria at 60 Diamond Jubilee Celebration.
The Minister said the event had demonstrated and complemented the efforts of the federal government’s focus on promoting and strengthening economic development at the grass roots level and the overall development of the country at large.
He commended the leadership of ALGON for its sustained commitment towards ensuring grass root development that will translate to prosperity in the rural communities across the country.
Adebayo emphasised that the event is a step in the right direction as it would serve as a vehicle for the local governments to increase economic activity in the short and long-run.
The Minister said the event will not only create a platform for sensitization and awareness, but will also provide a means of repositioning the LGAs towards having a better mind-set of fostering economic development of its citizenry.
He said, “It is important to note that the local governments are better positioned to tackle the issues facing the local communities and harnessing the available resources to stimulate and sustain economic activities that will lead to employment and income generation, poverty reduction and thus reduce youth restiveness and insecurity in the respective communities.
“The capacity of the local governments in generating revenue has declined over the years, thus, the need for the LGs to formulate strategies to improve their revenue base.
“In this regard, I strongly urge the local governments to explore the immense opportunities from the federal government policies and programmes that seek to benefit the people at grassroots, offered through various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
“As leaders of the communities, you need to scale up your efforts to bring the Local Governments to their full potential and create an investment friendly environment at the grass-roots which will increase internal revenue generation and reduce over- dependence on LG share of federation account.”
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, in his speech at the event, stated that the role of local governments in the administration of the country cannot be over-emphasised.
As the tier of government that is closest to the people, he said local government administrations are sufficiently informed of the needs of the people, adding that they also play a major role in the economic empowerment of the people.
He called ALGON to put aside whatever their differences are and work for the common good of all. This way, the SGF stated that they would not only have time for making their meaningful contribution to governance in the country, but also show their relevance to the ordinary people.