Scholar task Udom on judicious use of Paris Fund
In the wake of release of two trenches of Paris Club refunds to states by the Federal government, a scholar, Prof. Richard King, has advised them to judiciously use the lifeline to improve the lot of people.
He made this call while speaking with journalists in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, a onetime governorship aspirant on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015, advised the state government not put all the money into infrastructural development, stressing that in order not to negate what it was meant for.
“It would amount to a clear misplacement of economic scale of priorities, if as variously reported in the media; the governments’ position on the N10billion refund is to settle outstanding liabilities to contractors amidst outstanding socio-economic challenges currently confronting the state,” he said.
The Professor of Fisheries and Aquaculture charged the state governor, Udom Emmanuel, not to hearken to sycophant politicians to divert the money into something that would not meet the needs of workers, which the refunds were meant for.
“It would serve the best interest of advancing the state and her indigenes, if the governor would conscientiously resist pressure from some selfish and unprincipled politicians, that the fund be mindlessly shared among the elite political class at the dire expense of growing the state economy as well as bring succor to her suffering masses,” he stressed.
He argued that although infrastructure development was important to the socio-economic development of the state, primary considerations should be given to the welfare of citizens, including the building of economic capacity, human capital and the care for the elderly, especially pensioners.
The lecturer-turned-politician emphasised that the outstanding arrears of emoluments and pensions should be met to ameliorate their worsening living conditions.
On fighting the rising levels of unemployment among youths of the state, the APC stalwart implored the government to invest a substantial part of the fund in them through major skills acquisition and entrepreneurial development.
He added that aside from reducing high unemployment rate among youths, the active engagement of this segment of citizens in sustainable and lucrative ventures would go a long way in curbing crime and the use of those unengaged as political thugs.