Kwara to invite groups, organisations, individuals for budget reviews

KWARA state government has said that, henceforth, groups, organisations and individuals will be invited in its budget review exercise.

Speaking during the first “Offa Economic Summit,” organised by Offa Club 80 in Offa at the weekend, the state deputy governor, Mr Kayode Alabi, said that current administration in the state believes in participatory budgeting.

The deputy governor also said that “a conducive environment will be provided through a policy framework that will be congenial to the economic and infrastructural development of Kwara communities.”

Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, Mr Tayo Oyelowo, the deputy governor hailed the community for organising the summit.

“This is the first of its kind in the history of the state. This step is worthy of emulation. It is a laudable idea for the entirety of the nation,” he said.

In a keynote address, the retired deputy governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Sarah Alade, identified digital infrastructure as a critical key toward developing the nation’s economy.

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Speaking on the topic: “The Nexus between Industrial and infrastructural facilities in Offa,” Dr Alade said that such digital infrastructure, when provided, would not only develop the economy but also stimulate industrial growth.

According to her, the future is here and technology is the way to go if we must build competitive economy.

“There is a need for the provision of digital infrastructure. We can increase efficiency of services and transform the economy as new businesses spring up around the digital technology.

‘‘Today, innovative technology is being used across Africa to improve living standard and also create new jobs. Smart phones are used to provide advice to farmers on pest control.

“In Rwanda, drones deliver medical supply to hospitals in rural areas where the road network is poor. In Nigeria and elsewhere mobile money provides access to financial services to previously excluded individuals. It is therefore important as we have to deliberate on transforming Offa to an emerging city by taking steps to industrialise. We need to go beyond the traditional physical infrastructure of roads, rails, etc. which are keys and also invest in digital infrastructure,’’ she said.

The former CBN boss said Offa has great industrial prospect if there is focus on natural resources, labour supply and strategic location of the town and presence of railway.

Also, former executive director, Bank of Industry (BoI), Dr Waheed Olagunju, said that Nigeria has enough money to assist small and medium scale industries and enterprises in the country.

Olagunju spoke on “Action, steps in accessing credit facility to finance industrial projects.”

He said, however, that no bank would be ready to give credit facilities to a business or investment that lacks viable and successful potential.

Olagunju recalled that Nigeria used to be one of the leading nations in Africa before the last economic recession, expressing optimism that the country was on the path to economic prosperity.