Chief Elias Mbam, Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) said that he has developed a blueprint to lift Ebonyi out of its present poverty level.
Mbam stated this in an interview with newsmen on Thursday in Abakaliki.
Mbam, a leading governorship aspirant in the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) assured that he would reverse Ebonyi poverty index if elected governor in 2023.
He said that the 2019 National Bureau of Statistics (NBC) poverty index of states, indicates that Ebonyi scored 87.02 per cent with poor citizens revealed a startling reality of the state’s poverty level.
“Our state was just below Jigawa; Taraba and Sokoto, as the states with the highest level of poverty per head in Nigeria and only state in southern Nigeria with the highest number of poor citizens.
“I’ll reverse this trend if I become governor in 2023,” Mbam said.
The one time minister of state for Finance noted that he has developed an economic blueprint that set out step by step approach towards reversing the ugly narrative and promised to drastically reduce it within two years of serving as Ebonyi governor.
He said that he would leverage his vast knowledge in micro-economics and skills in revenue diversification having served for nearly 10 years as the chairman of RMAFC to turn around the economy of the state.
“As chairman of RMFAC, I instituted diverse and radical campaign on revenue diversification, leading Nigeria and many states into the non-oil sector, especially mining and agriculture to reduce the over dependence in oil.
“This has helped boost government revenues at the time of inflation orchestrated by the global COVID-19 pandemic and insecurity.
“This knowledge will be best deployed into ensuring that Ebonyi’s revenue regime is critically evaluated by enhancing and exploring other revenue sources without dependence on federal allocation, over taxation of citizens and small businesses,” he added.
The governorship aspirant explained that conscious effort and plans would be made to explore other critical sectors of the economy to boost revenue generation.
He said that challenges militating effective public water supply in Abakaliki and other cities in the state would be addressed to enhance its revenue generation profile.
“We will leverage modern waste management system, industralisation and improved mechanised agriculture to boost the state’s economy and its revenue while reducing taxation from local markets, petty businesses and commerce,” he said.
He further assured that he would lean on his knowledge of resource distribution to ensure that resources generated locally; nationally from foreign investments and grants would be efficiently distributed to target priority areas and interventions.
“Diversification and resource distribution will reduce poverty in Ebonyi, make households happy and economically buoyant as well as increase the amount of money in pockets of citizens.
“Our initiative when implemented will drastically reduce rural-urban migration with its attendant migration of teeming youths to hawk in other cities in Nigeria.
“We will prioritise basic education to increase enrollment; revitalise our teacher training colleges to build capacity of our teachers as well as reintroduce local and overseas scholarships to build capacities,” he said.
On the ongoing voter registration exercise which has entered the fourth quarter, Mbam charged Ebonyi indigenes who have attained 18 years and above and were yet to register to go and get registered.
He further advised those who were yet to collect their voter’s card to get them to be able to exercise their civic franchise.
“According to report released by the electoral body recently, as at March 15, 2022, about 127,424 permanent voter’s card (PVCs) are still unclaimed in Ebonyi.
“The voter card is our only power to effect the change we all desire in political leadership, so, I enjoin our people to arm themselves with their voter’s card.”