Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Okonjo-Iweala expresses concern about state resources

14 August 2013, 12:34

Minna - The Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has expressed concern about states spending their resources on salaries and operational costs rather than on capital projects.

Okonjo-Iweala said this on Tuesday in Minna at the National Council for Economic Development (NACOFED) conference.

She said that there was a need for states to make strategic choices about how to spend their allocation from the federation account.

"The structure of our public expenditure is lopsided, at the federal level and in most states, our budgets consist mostly of recurrent expenditures such as payroll and overhead expenses.

"Yet, we continue to have more demands for more recurrent spending.

"ASUU wants government to pay N92 billion in extra allowances when the resources are not there and when we are working to integrate past increases in pensions,’’ she said.

"We need to make choices in this country as we are getting to the stage where recurrent expenditures take the bulk of our resources and people get paid but can do no work."

Okonjo- Iweala, who is also the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, said that at the federal level, there has been recent progress in improving public financial management in the country.

The minister said that government was paying close attention to the management of the country's foreign and domestic debt.

She said that the ministry was collaborating with the Debt Management Office to get a clearer picture of outstanding debts incurred by state governments.

She also urged state governments to keep "an eagle eye on domestic borrowings".

According to her, the Federal Government is working hard to diversify the economy as part of its strategy, thereby reducing over dependence on the oil sector.

Okonjo-Iweala said that efforts were also on to grow the non oil sector such as agriculture and infrastructure.

"We are working to improve our non-oil tax revenue collection. Recently, we hired international consultants to conduct a diagnostic exercise on the bottlenecks in our tax collection process.

"They compared our official registry of companies at CAC to the official taxpayers’ database at FIRS.

"The result was that 75 per cent of registered firms were actually not in the tax system, in addition about 65 per cent of registered tax payers had not filled their tax returns in the past two years.

"Overall, it was estimated that an additional N80 billion could be obtained if we improved our tax systems, given the recent decline in our oil revenues. This is additional money which is urgently needed.’’

Okonjo- Iweala also stressed the need for all states to adopt the Fiscal Responsibility Commission 2007 Act.

"We need to cooperate more on our fiscal policies since all tiers of government operate in the same economy.

"We will need to coordinate more on how we spend our money, what we spend on and also when we spend it on.

"This will help us manage liquidity in the economy and keep our macro-economic indicators stable," she said.

In his remarks, Vice President Namadi Sambo, said that there was the need to reduce recurrent expenditure to sustainable levels, while increasing capital projects.

Sambo was represented by the Minister of National Planning Commission, Dr Shamsudeen Usman.

The Vice President said that following the Orunsaye  Committe report, the Federal Government had taken steps to reduce waste as well as duplication of government agencies.

"Consequently, recurrent expenditures will be trimmed further from 71.5 per cent in 2012, to about 68.7 per cent of the 2013 budget, while the capital vote is expected to increase to 31.3 per cent from 28.5 per cent in 2012,’’ he said.

Sambo said that the government was working to restructure expenditure through its transformation agenda by improving capital expenditure in infrastructure to create employment and a business friendly environment.

"The annual budget of our administration is predicated on four main pillars, namely macro-economic stability, structural reforms, governance and investments in priority sectors.

"It is our belief that the effort of the Federal Government in this regard would be complemented by those of the states and local governments.

"So that together we can lay solid foundation for sustainable economic growth," he said.

Sambo urged participants to deliberate and come up with workable solutions that would help to improve public finance in the country.

Yerima Ngama, the Minister of State for Finance in his closing remarks, thanked the Niger State Government for hosting the conference.

"We need to work more closely in tackling various public services which fall on the concurrent list such as delivering health and education.’’

Ngama said that he was optimistic that the nation’s economy would be on sound footing in the near future, following the implementation of government’s various economic development strategies.

The conference was attended by states commissioners for finance, accountants-general as well as permanent secretaries of ministries of finance from the 36 states.

 - NAN


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...