Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, has advised state governments to look into initiatives that will boost their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to augment their income from the federal purse.
Nigeria is a monolithic economy and its long dependence on oil is impacting adversely especially with declining oil revenue owing to falling oil prices.
Currently state governments are faced with declining income and pushing them to cut down on salaries or trim down their workforce to stay afloat.
“What the governors are saying is very simple; they are saying: `we used to receive x amount of money before, but now we are receiving much less’.
“I am told that a state received N55 million in the last Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) distribution.
While he doused the tension generated by the fears by governors regarding the N18,000 minimum wage, he said “Now, I don’t think the governors are saying they won’t pay N18,000”.
“The governors are saying, `we have problems’, and I think solutions will be for the governors and the organised labour to sit down.
“They should not discuss at a distance. They should sit down and discuss, let the governors present their case, let the labour look at it and let them reach an amicable solution.
“But the bottom line, frankly speaking, is that for too long we’ve depended on fuel.
“Oil has crashed from $104 to $38 and if you look at the forecast, it might not go beyond $40 or $42 next year, because with Iran back in the loop and America with the Shell oil and Shell Gas, it will be a miracle if the price jumps up in the next few months.
“However, what states can do also, in my view, is probably to invest more in their tax drive.
“Every state now must understand that it is not helpful to rely solely on the federal revenue.
“States’ Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) must be looked into, but of course I always realise that the more tax people pay the more they also expect from government.
“It is like a chick and egg kind of situation, but the bottom line is that we are living in a very tough time.
“Like I always say, tough times don’t last but tough men do and this government is the tough one.’’