Fed Govt to states: cut down on overhead, ensure fiscal discipline


FOR states to raise their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), they must cut down on unnecessary overhead costs and enthrone fiscal discipline, the Federal Government said yesterday.

Finance Minister Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who gave the counsel, said the application of such measures will enable governments at the states to properly manage the resources at their disposal.

Mrs. Ahmed spoke at the opening of the 2018 Conference of the National Council on Finance and Economic Development (NACOFED) in Kaduna yesterday.

Her Media and Communications’ aide Paul Ella Abechi said in a statement that the minister advised the states to “look inwards to harness various avenues to improve on their financial resources in order to meet demands in their states.”

He said the minister was optimistic that the conference would afford the Federation Account Allocation Committee members, who are dominate the event, “a veritable forum for us to review the present Federation revenue sources, which we all agree is been monolithic”.

The finance minister expressed the hope that participants will “be able to make actionable recommendations for sustainable improvement in the IGR and expenditure pattern. It is on record that due to persistent domestic fall in oil revenue, over the past years, it became extremely difficult, if not impossible for us to meet duly budgeted obligations.”

She reminded members that they “need to develop cost effective strategies to increase our IGR, reduce unnecessary overhead costs, enthrone fiscal discipline and transparency so as to optimize available limited resources, while efforts are sustained to broaden our revenue base.”

On the Federal Government’s part, she said the government will continue to account for all revenues accruing to the Federation Account in the most transparent manner and manage it efficiently to deliver on the dividends of democracy.

She commended the wisdom behind the development of the new revenue reporting template that was engineered by her predecessor and the Commissioners of Finance. The implementation of the template, she noted, “will be one of the key reforms in revenue remittances into the Federation Account.”

The minister urged the states to leverage on the sectors lying fallow in their states to consolidate on the financial allocation they receive from the Federation account.

She said: “We must get back to agriculture, develop our solid minerals sector, further streamline and reinforce our tax collection systems, block all avenues for revenue leakages, continue to strengthen our borders to stem smuggling and abhor all forms of corruption.

“We have to cultivate a new culture of efficient resource management and genuine paradigm shifts to enable us utilize the untapped resources in a more efficient manner.”

These measures notwithstanding the mistakes of the past she said, “will rekindle our hope and embolden us to take practical steps towards unlocking the potentials in the non-oil sector in our respective states.”

The minister had at the weekend in Lagos, said that strong capital market activities was instrumental in taking Nigeria out of recession and back to the path of positive growth.

Mrs. Ahmed, who was represented by the Acting Director-General, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms. Mary Uduk, made the observation at the 22nd African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) Annual General Meeting and Conference in Lagos.

She revealed that it was President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to allocate money into the various sectors of the economy to stimulate economic growth.

The minister noted: “Nigerian government’s deliberate effort gave support to the private sector a critical pillar in its policies, by ensuring macroeconomic stability and diversifying the economy from a focus on oil to other sectors and providing an enabling environment for the financial sector as a major catalyst in the implementation of the Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).”


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