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Declining revenue: States must be creative to deliver value – Sanwo-Olu

…as FG assures more financing options for states

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State says at this time Nigeria is facing weak revenue, managers of the sub-national components (states) must learn to be creative in order to deliver value in governance.

The governor’s position comes as Zainab Ahmed, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, says the federal government is not only committed to its economic reforms but also planning more financing options for the 36 states under the States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability (SFTAS) program.

They spoke on Monday at the opening of a two-day conference of the National Council on Finance and Economic Development (NACOFED) being held in Lagos, with the theme “Public Sector Finance Management in the new normal (post-Covid-19).

According to Sanwo-Olu, there can be no better time for states to prioritize their spending than now, adding that the era of recklessness in the management of public resources must be gone if governance is to impact the citizens and meet their expectations.

He observed that the ultimate goal in government must be value for money and the enhancement of the quality and timeliness of service delivery.

“What the pandemic (COVID-19) has done is to compel us all, whether in the public or private sectors, to focus more attention on exploring ways ‘to do more with less.’ We have been forced to find ways of optimizing spending, to ensure that, one, we are cutting down on waste excesses and things that we do not need, and two, that every unit of surviving expenditure delivers maximum value and impact, for the benefit of our populace.

“This is the time for commissioners for finance and commissioners for economic planning to be sincere with their principals, who may have asked you to do the impossible. You have to be very creative and do away with what will not be considered as important this time.”

Sanwo-Olu further charged the states to leverage technology to shore up revenue and increase their level of transparency.

Read also: Sanwo-Olu unveils new name, the logo of Lagos State Lotteries and Gaming Authority

“We must rapidly embrace technology as a tool for increasing transparency and accountability, as well as expanding citizens’ access to public services in a manner that is cost-effective and solution-oriented. Every opportunity to reduce non-essential spending must equally be seized with both hands. And, very importantly, we must invest in building the human capacity required to adapt seamlessly to the social, legal, technological, and policy demands of the new normal.”

Earlier, the minister of finance, Ahmed, said the federal government would continue to pursue economic reforms which, according to her, are aimed at creating the enabling environment for the businesses, right fiscal space for investment, and diversification of the revenue base of the economy.

Reassuring support for states, the minister projected the economy to grow by 1.5 percent as this year winds down and by 2.9 percent in 2022.

Also speaking, Adeola Solomon, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, urged the federal government to develop and push for appropriate measures that suit the country’s situation, especially in dealing with post-COVID 19 challenges.

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