Nigeria’s minister of foreign affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama has urged the local government areas to initiate alternative sources of funding in the face of dwindling federal allocation.
Onyeama spoke, weekend, during the maiden Economic Summit organised by Udi Local Government Council.
The theme of the event was, ‘Beyond Monthly Statutory Allocations’.
Onyeama called on the local government councils to take advantage of the various reforms of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to improve their economic environment.
The minister advised that investment in agribusiness and support for local entrepreneurs were some of the surest ways the local councils could enhance their revenue.
He said that the Federal Government had provided the enabling environment for local entrepreneurs, including farmers to thrive.
According to him, “the local councils have the potential to be major players in the international market due to the abundant natural resources in such areas.”
The minister, therefore, appealed to them to look inwards by exploiting their natural resources for the development of such localities, rather than the over dependence on monthly statutory allocations.
Onyeama said that the summit would provide the Udi Local Government Area the needed opportunity to draw a roadmap towards harnessing the abundant human and natural resources in the area.
He said that the area could be a haven for tourism as it was blessed with one of the best underground water in the world, adding that “there was the need for the establishment of a data bank that would capture professionals from the area and their various areas of specialty.”
“Like we know in this 21st Century, ideas rule the world. Some of the wealthy men you hear their names today across the globe such as Bill Gate became rich through new ideas and innovations.
“So, we must create an enabling environment for our youths. The local government can collaborate with the state government to create the needed enabling environment for our youths,” he further stated.
Also, former Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo called on the council to support farmers in the area through the provision of farm inputs.
Earlier, the Chairman of the council, Mr Ifeanyi Agu, said that the summit was aimed at evolving new ways of economic survival leveraging on their areas of comparative advantage.