By Ifeanyi Olannye
Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has charged the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) to explore new corridors of national planning to propel the nation’s economic growth.
Okowa gave the charge on Friday when the 56th President of ICAN, Dame Onome Adewuyi, led members of the executive on a courtesy visit to him at the Government House, Asaba.
He paid glowing tribute to accountants for their sterling contributions to the growth and development of the nation’s economy.
He, however, challenged them and other similar professionals to enunciate plans that could save the nation from its current economic challenges.
He underscored the need for the country to begin to plan for its ever increasing population. According to him, without proper planning, rising population will continue to retard the country’s economic development and national growth.
He regretted that successive administrations at the state and federal levels had virtually become fees and salary-paying establishments.
He said the development had left most states with no money for capital development.
“And it is capital development that truly runs the economy of states and the nation,’’ Okowa said.
“The budgets of the states and Federal Government are characterised by huge recurrent expenditure in terms of salary payment, overhead, repayment and servicing of debts.
“There has to be a mix between recurrent expenditure and capital expenditure.
“If we spend all our monies on recurrent expenditure without having a reasonable amount for capital expenditure, we will not be doing any good to the state and our nation.
“The impact is not only on the states. At the level of Federal Government, it’s quite a problem. “Today, we are almost living virtually on borrowing to be able to execute capital projects.
“It’s a problem all of us have to look into and it’s something ICAN can look into and offer your advice to both the federal government and states.
“The challenge is there but there must be a process to address it gradually because if we do not do so, we will be getting to a situation where we definitely embarrass ourselves as a nation.
“We hope that we don’t get to that point in the history of this nation,” the governor said.
He expressed concern that the country was “busy everyday planning our expenditure without planning the population of the nation.
“A nation that continues to plan for its expenditutre without planning its population is a nation that is not truly planning at all.
“It’s a big problem because we are in a nation today where our economy is dwindling.
“We are not expanding the economy the way we thought we should be able to do.
“Again, the economy is growing at a very low rate and the population of the nation is growing at a very high rate.
“There is no level of planning, no matter how intelligent that person is, that he can truly plan in such a space.
“I believe that it’s something that all of us who have the knowledge of planning must speak out to let this nation know that wherever we are at the moment, there is need to begin to look very closely inward.”
Earlier, Adewuyi commended the governor for the new paradigm he introduced into the leadership and governance of the state.
She described capacity-building as the primary mandate of ICAN.She lauded the governor for his administration’s massive investment and transformation in the education sector.
“At ICAN, our mandate is to consistently act in public interest and we collaborate with stakeholders across all sectors, whether public or private, in the promotion of accountability, transparency and good governance.
“We believe that the national resources, if adequately managed and accounted for, are sufficient to guarantee decent lives and livelihood for the over 200 million Nigerians,” Adewuyi said.
She said that ICAN had concluded plans to establish a university in order to support stakeholders in the educational value-chain at bridging the gap in tertiary education in the country.
“We plan that the specialised university will commence with postgraduate courses in social and management science.
“It will open for admission by the next academic session in September,” she said.