Again, FG Tasks States on Fiscal Discipline

0

Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

The federal government has again advised the component states of the federation to enthrone fiscal discipline in their activities, and reduce unnecessary overhead costs in order to boost internally generated revenue (IGR).

This, it said, is to ensure proper resource management in the face of scarce resources.

The federal government had in 2016 introduced a 22-point Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP) for states and local governments with a view to enhancing fiscal prudence and transparency in public expenditure.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, reinforced the quest for fiscal discipline by the subnational governments at the ongoing 2018 Conference of the National Council on Finance and Economic Development (NACOFED), according to a statement signed by her Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Mr Paul Ella Abechi.

The conference with the theme, ‘Unlocking the Potential of Non-Oil Sector as a Sustainable Source of Government Revenue’, is holding in Kaduna State, where Ahmed maintained that states should look inwards to harness various avenues to improve on their financial resources in order to meet demands in their states.

She said: “It is indeed my honour and privilege to be here on the occasion of the 2018 National Council on Finance and Economic Development (NACOFED) Conference.

“With the theme of this Conference “Unlocking the Potentials of Non-Oil Sector as a Sustainable Source of Government Revenue”, I am very confident that it would be a veritable forum for us to review the present Federation revenue sources, which we all agree is been monolithic.

“Also, it is my hope that we would be able to make actionable recommendations for sustainable improvement in the Internally Generated Revenue (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 said.

According to her, “This happened because of the age-long over reliance on oil, even though Nigeria is abundantly endowed with multiple resources, which provide varied sources of revenue.”

The minister noted that there are stupendous potential for diversification of sources of revenue, adding: “we can reflect soberly on our national endowments and make conscious efforts to exploit and manage them effectively.”

Ahmed stressed the need for the states to develop cost-effective strategies to increase IGR, reduce unnecessary overhead costs, enthrone fiscal discipline and transparency so as to optimise available limited resources, while efforts are sustained to broaden the revenue base.

“On the federal government part, we will continue to strive to ensure that all Federation revenues are accounted for in the most transparent manner and managed efficiently to deliver on the dividends of democracy to the citizenry.

“Let me acknowledge and commend the wisdom behind the development of the new revenue reporting template that was engineered by the Commissioners of Finance. It is imperative to mention that its implementation will be one of the key reforms in revenue remittances into the Federation Account.

“The administration of President MuhammaduBuhari, GCON has demonstrated necessary political will and has been very supportive in our drive to explore other relevant revenue sources, so as to be able to turn the tide in favour of the Federation Account and the nation in general,” the minister said.

She added that state governments should leverage on sectors lying fallow in their states to consolidate on the financial allocation they receive from the Federation Account.

“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,” she admonished.