BY: Our Reporter, Calabar
In line with the Fiscal Responsibility Commission’s (FRC) mandate which aims at assisting States to consolidate the ability to maintain credibility in public finance management, the commission has began the sensitisation of states in the South-south on fiscal transparency and accountability.
The 3-day workshop will feature four major presentations in accountability and transparency, well packaged to sensitise participants through presentations that will include, “strengthening fiscal management at the state level through Fiscal Responsibility Law; the imperative of fiscal transparency and accountability in the sustainable development of States; borrowing and indebtedness of the subnational governments; sustaining and deepening results of the State Fiscal Transparency and Accountability (SFTAS) programme in South-south.
Speaking at the occasion, Chairman of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC), Victor Muruako, who was represented by Mr Zelani Muhammad disclosed that since October 31, 2022 the Commission has traversed the North-East, North Central, South-West and now at the South-South Geopolitical Zone with the same message of Transparency and Accountability.
“Our key aim in this series is to sustain the improvement in good fiscal practices by subnational governments and to also seek ways to build on the enhanced fiscal coordination between the federal government and subnational governments which has been achieved in recent years – especially through the SlFTAS (State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability) intervention programme, he said”
He expressed delight over the fact that the improvement in transparency has reached the Local Government level such that some states like the host state, Cross River, have published the 2021 Audited Financial Statements of all their Local Governments, stressing that it is the power of fiscal coordination.
According to him, “An analysis of fiscal fundamentals of states of the South South geopolitical zone, as of December 31, 2021 reveals a total domestic debt of N988.06 billion and total foreign debt of $873.3 million.
“A deeper look into the fiscals indicates an IGR per capita of N8,907; total debt per capita of N44,333; and capital expenditure per capita N26,499.”
“It is clear that with a population of over 33 million people, which is larger than that of our closest anglophone neighbor, Ghana (31.73 millon), it goes without saying that the region is punching below its strategic capabilities in key areas. We can do more by way of IGR, for instance.”
He appealed to World Bank and its partners to ensure they adopt the National Orientation Agency as implementation partners if they truly want the results of SFTAS to be sustained and deepened.