About a year after President Muhammadu Buhari approved a relief package designed to enable states offset workers’ salaries and also remedy their economic situation, the federal government is set to once more, provide the states with a financial support facility.
The latest financial support from the federal government is to cushion the adverse effect of the current financial challenges in the country, although with stringent conditions.
A statement on Saturday by the Federal Ministry of Finance said that further relief would come the way of states soon, provided they met a 22-point reform agenda tagged the Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP).
The FSP is said to have been endorsed by state governors themselves at a meeting of the National Economic Council last month.
The conditions encompass a framework of reform measures including the requirement to publish their audited financial statements and budgets, biometric and Bank Verification Number (BVN) payroll review exercises for the workers, and restricting recurrent expenditure.
Besides, the states are expected to set and meet targets to enhance their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), establish Efficiency Units to reduce overhead costs, privatize State Owned Enterprises, domesticate Fiscal Responsibility Act, and put a limitation on further bank loans.
The Ministry said the Federal Government has agreed to develop International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) compliant software for the states’ use.
It is also developing new bond issuance guidelines to ease access to the capital market for states wishing to fund developmental projects.
The statement further said disbursements will be subjected to states meeting their agreed targets, which will be subjected to monitoring and evaluation by independent monitoring agents.
It warned that states that fail to meet the agreed reform targets will be excluded from further funding.
According to the finance ministry, the FSP mirrors the public financial management reforms currently being pursued at the federal government level and is expected to set the states on a path towards long-term fiscal sustainability.
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, was quoted in the statement to have explained that the FSP represents an important programme of reforms that will develop best practice financial management across all tiers of government and will improve transparency and accountability.
“We are determined to attain financial discipline across government and implementing the FSP at state level will ensure alignment. The focus on increasing revenue, which is not limited to conventional taxes, but rather encourages states to explore opportunities in areas such as agriculture and solid minerals, is in line with our diversification objectives.
“The targets for cost management and improved efficiency will deliver value for money and will yield long term savings. Overall, we believe that the survival of state governments is essential to the economic recovery of Nigeria, specifically their ability to meet salary obligations”, she added.
Akeredolu Sacks Ondo Attorney-General, Olawoye
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has sacked the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Kola Olawoye.
This was made known in a statement on Monday by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Segun Ajiboye.
Akeredolu immediately appointed a human rights lawyer, Mr. Charles Titiloye, as the new Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice.
According to the statement, the Ondo State governor would forward Titiloye’s name to the State House of Assembly for confirmation.
Akeredolu also expressed his appreciation to the sacked commissioner for services rendered to the state.
Focus On Reducing Poverty, Not 2023 Elections – Peter Obi
Former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, has called on his fellow politicians to put issues of 2023 aside and focus on how to rescue the country from the current economic crisis.
Obi said that solving the economic problems of Nigeria was more important than political permutations geared towards the next general elections.
The former Anambra State Governor stated during an appearance on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
He expressed that the next election has no impact on people’s current livelihoods.
Obi also blamed President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for not adequately preparing Nigerians for the impact of COVID-19, stating the monies borrowed by this government were not properly put to use.
“Every other country is discussing the recession and how to pull their people out of poverty.
“So what we should do now is to concentrate on the monetary and fiscal policies to start pulling people out of poverty,” Obi said.
Recession: Nigeria Is Broke, Can’t Afford 2021 Budget – Atiku
Former Vice-President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has expressed that the Federal Government should reconsider the 2021 budget owing to the recession.
Nigeria officially entered into its worst economic recession in 33 years after the nation recorded a GDP contraction of 3.62 percent in the third quarter of 2020.
He stated that Nigeria is broke and cannot afford the luxurious items in the N13.08 trillion budget proposal.
Atiku in a Twitter thread on Sunday stated that COVID-19 only complicated an existing economic problem.
Atiu went on to express that had President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration listened to advice, the recession could have been avoided.
“We could have avoided this fate by a disciplined and prudent management of our economy.”
“This could have been avoided had this administration taken heed to the patriotic counsel given by myself and other well-meaning Nigerians on cutting the cost of governance, saving for a rainy day, and avoiding profligate borrowing,” Atiku said.
He further said that now is not the time to trade blames but to focus on ways to manage the situation and called on Buhari’s government to “swallow its pride, and accept its limitations, so that they can open their minds to ideas, without caring who the messenger is.”
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