By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
KADUNA—THE Federal Government has called on state governments to reduce unnecessary overhead costs and enthrone fiscal discipline.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, made the call, yesterday, at the on-going 2018 Conference of the National Council on Finance and Economic Development, NACOFED, in Kaduna.
SOME STATE GOVERNORS
Special Adviser on Media and Communications to the minister, Mr Paul Ella Abechi, quoted her in a statement as saying: “Let me remind us that we 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, 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.”
The minister said the implementation of the new revenue reporting template engineered by the Commissioners of Finance, would be one of the key reforms in revenue remittances into the Federation Account.
“The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, 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, she said.
The minister charged participants to work out ways to diversify the nation’s economy which had been dependent mainly on oil.
She said further: “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.”
“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.
‘’There are stupendous potentials for diversification of source of revenue we can reflect soberly on our national endowments and make conscious efforts to exploit and manage them effectively.”
The Minister further emphasized that state governments should leverage on sectors lying fallow in their states.
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 I believe we can do. Notwithstanding the mistakes of our past, I am confident that this conference will rekindle our hope and embolden us to take practical steps towards unlocking the potentials in the non-oil sector in our respective states.”