Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti sent a chilling message to President Muhammadu Buhari, warning that the nation is at the precipice, economically speaking.
Fayemi, who chairs the Nigeria Governors Forum spoke on Tuesday in Abuja at the presentation of a report on Nigeria by the World Bank.
The report, called Nigeria Development Update, a bi-annual publication of the bank on the economic outlook of Nigeria, has the theme: “Resilience Through Reforms”.
Fayemi bared his mind as a panel discussant.
Focusing on the subsidy on petrol consumption, Fayemi said it was a failure of governance on the part of the leaders to continue to allow a position that was not sustainable.
He added that it was also not beneficial to the ordinary person for subsidy on petrol to be maintained.
“I think the greater challenge is that, though we may not be a rich country, we are a country with enormous rent seeking opportunities that have now forced ordinary people to really labour in a trust deficit.
“You cannot say that you are a poor country and you are maintaining a lifestyle that is even much more unsustainable than people who have the wealth to be able to maintain such.
“There is also this false notion that Nigeria is resilient. Nigeria is a strong country but we are almost on the precipice, it is almost midnight in our country.
“If we do not take these tough measures that we will have to live with, then we will have to deal with the consequences,” he said.
Fayemi said that more collaboration was needed between the Federal Government and the states to convince Nigerians that subsidy is no longer sustainable.
This, he said, would eradicate the trust deficit between the people and the government and ensure a smooth ride into the subsidy removal regime.
Mr Clem Agba, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, gave reasons why some of the reforms like the removal of petroleum subsidy were suspended.
According to him, it is because the government is looking for alternatives to ensure that when the programmes continue, Nigerians do not suffer.
“To follow up with these reforms, we are working on the strategic revenue initiatives and we are beginning to see some improvements in revenue.
” I dare say that the country is no longer so much of a mono dependent economy because of the reforms that are ongoing.
“In the past, oil used to be the main driver of the economy in terms of revenues, oils was giving us about 70 per cent of revenue and about 90 per cent of foreign exchange.
“Today oil is only contributing about 45 per cent while non-oil sector is contributing about 55 per cent.”
He appealed to Nigerians to understand that the reforms were necessary to achieve the desired growth.