The 2018 edition of Niger Delta Development Forum (NDDF) 2018 has ended with a charge to states in the region to maximise their internal revenue potentials in their states to avoid over dependence on oil revenue.
This is contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the 7th NDDF organised by the Foundation for Partnership Initiative in Niger Delta (PIND) in collaboration with the Market Development in the Niger Delta and the European Union Delegation to Nigeria held over two roundtable sessions in Edo and Rivers States between November 27th and 29, 2018.
The communiqué called on the states to adopt a regional integration and seek creative ways for financing their development agenda, mainly through private equity and venture capital while institutionalising legislative and operational frameworks with a competent civil service.
It said the NDDF 2018 builds upon successful engagements in the 2017 edition which was themed “The Future in Our Hands: A State-Led Framework for Planning & Development in the Niger Delta”, and emphasised the need for long term state led development plans that address priority issues in the region for sustainable development.
The communiqué recommended that development plan sustainability should be looked at from a funding perspective, maximising the various options available for revenue mobilisation in the states.
“States should think of how best to create and make use of existing data. This could be from properly mining existing data from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, setting up ways to locally collect data and leverage MDA and other cooperative bodies to pool data for quality planning,” it said.
It urged Ministries of Economic Planning and the state governments to begin to pay attention to emerging trends, just as it stressed the need to include young people in development planning to pool fresh ideas and radical thoughts to drive economic processes and development.
Emphasising the need for citizens to take ownership of the planning process, it called on states to call their citizens to participate in the process to have a stronger and representative plan that allocates resources and implementation energy where it is most needed.
The communiqué said further that, “States should learn to link available resources to state plans. They should always start with what they have so as to avoid over promising and under delivering as this erodes the credibility of the plan. States are also encouraged to appreciate how long it usually takes to articulate and implement the development plan.”