Delta State Governor, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa, has charged the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and other professional bodies to explore new corridors of national planning for the further development of Nigeria’s economy.
Okowa gave the charge yesterday when he received on courtesy visit the 56th President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Dame Onome Adewuyi and her delegation at Government House, Asaba.
He lauded the role accountants play in the development of the nation’s economy, but challenged them and other professionals to enunciate plans that could uplift the nation from its current economic challenges.
The governor said that Nigeria must begin to plan concerning its increasing population, explaining that without proper planning, rising population would continue to retard the country’s economic development and national growth.
He remarked that many governments in Nigeria had virtually become fees and salary-paying states, leaving them with no money left for capital development,adding: “And it’s capital development that truly runs the economy of states and the nation.’’
According to the governor, the budgets of the states and the federal government were characterised by huge recurrent expenditures in terms of payment of salaries, overhead, repayment and servicing of debts, leaving very little for the development of the nation.
“There has to be a mix between recurrent expenditure and capital expenditure. If we spend all our monies on recurrent expenditure without having a reasonable amount for capital expenditure, we will not be doing any good to the state and to our nation.
“The impact is not only on the states; at the level of Federal Government, it’s quite a problem because today, we are almost living virtually on borrowing to be able to execute capital projects.
“It’s a problem all of us have to look into and it’s something you can look into and offer your advice to both the Federal Government and the states.
“The challenge is there but there must be a process to address it on a gradual basis, because if we do not do so, we will be getting to a situation where we definitely embarrass ourselves as a nation and we hope that we don’t get to that point in the history of this nation,” Okowa said.
He added that as much as possible “Nigerians need to think about what we can do because we are busy everyday planning our expenditure without planning the population of the nation.
“A nation that continues to plan without planning its population is a nation that is not truly planning at all. It’s a big problem because we are in a nation today where our economy is dwindling.
“We are not expanding the economy the way we thought we should be able to do, and then the economy is growing at a very low rate and the population of the nation is growing at a very high rate.
“There is no level of planning, no matter how intelligent that person is, that you can truly plan in such a space. I believe that it’s something that all of us who have the knowledge of planning must speak out to let this nation know that wherever we are at the moment there is need to begin to look very closely inward,’’ the governor added.
Earlier, Dame Adewuyi had commended the governor for the new paradigm he introduced to the leadership and governance of the state.
She stated that capacity-building was the primary mandate of the ICAN and lauded the governor for his administration’s massive investment and educational transformation, including the recent upgrade of three existing higher institutions to universities.
“At ICAN, our mandate is to consistently act in public interest and we collaborate with stakeholders across all sectors of the economy, whether public or private, in the promotion of accountability, transparency and good governance.
“We believe that the national resources if adequately managed and accounted for, are sufficient to guarantee decent lives and livelihood for the over 200 million Nigerians,” Adewuyi stated.
She disclosed that ICAN had concluded arrangements to establish a university in order to support stakeholders in the educational value-chain at bridging the gap in tertiary education in the country.
“We plan that the specialised university will commence with postgraduate courses in social and management science and will open to the public for admission by the next academic session in September, 2021,” she added.