The Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 elections, Mr Peter Obi, has encouraged the Government of Bayelsa State to remain focused as it has been over the years by continued delivery of good governance to the people of the state.
Obi made this remarks while speaking on “Budgeting and Economic Planning” at the Bayelsa State Government Cabinet Retreat held at Ibom Resort Centre, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. Though he described speaking to Bayelsa Government as “preaching to the converted”, he however he said such exercise was good from time to time as part of routine evaluation.
He explained how important it is for every individual, organisation and more so, the government to work with clearly defined goals. He said that with a clear vision, the State and the stakeholders in the state would be able to work together to achieve their common goals.
He went further to state that clear vision brings about good planning and budgeting which, he said, were very critical in governance, especially in the management of the scarce economic resources. Obi noted that no government, no matter how prosperous it appears, has enough economic resources to achieve their goals. But with good economic planning, one can prioritise and maximise the scarce resources.
On the inevitability of borrowing, he advised: “You do not borrow to support a budget, but you borrow to support a project. Many nations across the world borrow to make their economy better. Singapore’s debt to GDP ratio today is 120%. Japan has a debt to GDP ratio of 200%, while the United States of America have 100%. These are all prosperous nations with obvious debts. Investing in productive ventures is what differentiates their debts from ours that are consumed rather than invested.”
The former Governor of Anambra urged Bayelsa Government to prioritise support for small businesses as a way of poverty eradication. He opined that a booming private sector will ensure reduction in unemployment resulting in reduction of crime.
As a way of improving the local economy, Obi advised the government to always patronise local manufacturers. He recounted how he, as the Governor of Anambra State, bought over 1,000 vehicles from Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing, paying about N5 billion. He however, expressed joy that today, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing contributes not just to state economy but to national economy, with a workforce of over 7,000 individuals.
He finally encouraged the State Executive Team to continue to work together as a team for the good of the people of Bayelsa. In his words, “Every plan, budget and policy must be geared towards improving the life of every Bayelsa indigene. You are not in entertainment business so don’t expect to make everyone happy, but deliver good governance to the people. That is what they truly need from you.”
Present at the event were Bayelsa State Governor, Sen Duoye Diri; Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Sen Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo; honourable commissioners of Bayelsa State; heads of service and agencies.