Uche Usim, Abuja
In the face of lean resources available for gigantic projects, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed on Monday advised State governments to slash bogus overhead spending by embracing fiscal discipline in order to increase Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) that will ensure higher deliverables.
Ahmed, made the call in her address at the ongoing 2018 Conference of the National Council on Finance and Economic Development (NACOFED) as contained in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the Minister of Finance on Media and Communications, Mr Paul Ella Abechi.
The conference with theme, ‘Unlocking the Potentials of Non-Oil Sector as a Sustainable Source of Government Revenue’, started on November 26th and will end on 28th November, 2018, 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.
“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.
“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 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 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.
“Therefore, the theme of this year’s Conference is thought-provoking and in tandem with the present Government’s focus on diversifying our economy away from oil to non-oil sources of revenue and building a robust economy with sustainable revenue base.”
The Minister further emphasized 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.
“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”, she added.