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Soludo Says Anambra Diversifies to Farm-Driven Economy | The Guardian Nigeria News

Anambra Governor Chukwuma Soludo has warned that states may stop paying their basic bills unless they transition from FAAC-based revenues to an agriculture-driven economy.

Soludo, a learned economist, said so at a meeting in Awka to mark his 100-day tenure.

He said that the larger Nigerian economy is facing dwindling fortunes due to the non-contribution of petroleum revenues, noting that the development is having a negative impact on states’ revenues.

“As of February of this year, oil’s share of revenue going to the federal and state governments is zero, I saw the chart, zero contribution from oil.

“What we share now is revenue from tariffs, sales tax and corporate taxes, and most states can’t pay salaries because there’s no oil money,” he said.

Soludo said his government is already beginning an aggressive agriculture-based economy.

He recalled that the old eastern region experienced its greatest economic prosperity when it depended solely on palm oil revenues.

The Economist said Anambra decided it would give people palm and/or coconut seedlings to harvest and make money within a maximum of five years as part of a permanent empowerment program.

“That’s why we say we’re going back to where the late MI Okpara left off; He built eastern Nigeria with palm oil money.

“Cities of Onitsha with the Main Market; Enugu, University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Port Harcourt, Calabar, Aba and the rest were built with palm trees; They were well planned with mains water and electricity.

“But all of that was given up with the discovery of crude oil and the revenues from it, but there is tremendous scope to maximize our potential in palm production.

“Malaysia came to eastern Nigeria to collect samples of palm trees, but today their export of palm trees is far larger than Nigeria’s crude oil exports, and today we go to Malaysia to get improved seedlings that mature between 4 and 5 years.

“A household that gets about 30 or 40 seedlings is permanently out of poverty; So the government wants to plant about a million seedlings every year for the next 10 years and if we can achieve that, we will generate more revenue than FAAC and IGR,” he said.

Soludo said the state would not borrow for consumption but would continue to take wages as is, noting that local government and civil servant pensioners were owed N14 billion and N7.6 billion in tips.

“We will also ensure that retirees who have retired since 2018 receive their bonuses.”

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