Former vice-presidential candidate Peter Obi has encouraged Bayelsa State Government to remain focused as it has been over the years by continued delivery of good governance to the people of the state.
Mr Obi made this remarks while speaking on budgeting and economic planning at the state cabinet retreat held at Ibom Resort Centre, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Though he described speaking to Bayelsa government as “preaching to the converted”, but he said such exercise was good from time to time as part of routine evaluation.
Obi explained how important it is for every individual, organisation and 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.
On the inevitability of borrowing, Obi 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.
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, bought over 1,000 vehicles from Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM) paying about N5 billion. He, however, expressed joy that IVM now contributes not just to state economy but to national economy, with a workforce of over 7,000 individuals.
Present at the retreat were Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri; Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo; commissioners and heads of service and agencies.