NDDF tasks states on improved IGR
The 2018 edition of the Niger Delta Development Forum (NDDF) came to an end last week, with a charge to states in the region to maximize their internal revenue potentials to avoid overdependence on oil income.
The charge was part of the communiqué issued at the end of the seventh NDDF, organised by the Foundation for Partnership Initiative in Niger Delta (PIND), in collaboration with the Market Development in the Niger Delta and the European Union Delegation to Nigeria held over two roundtable sessions in Edo and Rivers states.
The forum called on the states to adopt a regional integration and seek creative ways for financing their development agenda, mainly through private equity and venture capital, while institutionalising legislative and operational frameworks with a competent civil service.It said the NDDF 2018 was built upon successful engagements in the 2017 edition, which was themed “The Future in Our Hands: A State-Led Framework for Planning and Development in the Niger Delta.”
He emphasised the need for long term state-led development plans that address priority issues in the region for sustainable development.The communiqué recommended that development plan sustainability should be looked at from a funding perspective, maximizing the various options available for revenue mobilization in the states
“States should think of how best to create and make use of existing data. This could be from properly mining existing data from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, setting up ways to locally collect data and leverage MDA and other cooperative bodies to pool data for quality planning,” it said.
It urged Ministries of Economic Planning and the State Governments to begin to pay attention to emerging trends, just as it stressed the need to include young people in development planning to pool fresh ideas and radical thoughts to drive economic processes and development.
Emphasising the need for citizens to take ownership of the planning process, it called on states to call their citizens to participate in the process to have a stronger and representative plan that allocates resources and implementation energy where it is most needed.
The communiqué further noted: “States should learn to link available resources to plans. They should always start with what they have so as to avoid overpromising and under-delivering as this erodes the credibility of the plan. States are also encouraged to appreciate how long it usually takes to articulate and implement the development plan.”
“State-led development plans should look at the Niger Delta region as one entity. It should determine the opportunities exist within the states within the regions at large. “There is need to think of interstate integration in the region for instance in ensuring transport linkages through water ways, rail connectivity, deep sea potentials.”
It urged states of the region for more effective organizations like PIND to pool regional players into the discourse, reviews and capacity building (especially for civil servants), for the design, development, execution and monitoring and evaluation of State-led development plans in view of collective regional competitiveness.
“States need to improve the quality and value of good governance such as honoring agreements, as this forms the bedrock for buy-in, interests, attraction and increasing commitments from investors,” It said.