Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma on Thursday in Abuja met with Commissioners for Economic Planning and Budget matters in the states to address emerging Socio- economic policy issues in the country.
It was the first of such meetings, which is intended to be held quarterly, to exchange views and compare notes and address socio-economic issues with a view to improving the state of the Nigerian economy and the wellbeing of the people.
The Minister said the meeting was also designed to review the extent of implementation of the resolutions reached at the Joint Planning Board (JPB)/ National Council on Development Planning (NCDP) held in Awka, Anambra State in October last year.
According him, the theme of the meeting:‘’addressing emerging socio- economic issues’’ is apt and timely as it comes at a time the country was experiencing dwindling revenues occasioned by the declining price of crude oil in the international market.
Senator Udoma noted that this development has resulted in governments at all levels finding it difficult to meet certain financial obligations, a situation he said can hurt the national development process.
He was optimistic however that a close working relationship between the federal and state governments can create a better atmosphere for the articulation of policy measures aimed at diversifying the economy and reducing overdependence on the oil sector.
‘I am pleased to inform you that the current Administration is taking steps to address the various socio- economic challenges in the country. For example, a new approach to strategic planning and budgeting has been introduced. At the operational level, we have adopted the Zero-based budgeting (ZBB) system to ensure prudence in the allocation of resources.
“This is to enable us focus on priorities and the delivery of credible public outcomes. We are equally deepening reforms to ensure effective and efficient service delivery through the strengthening of our performance-based monitoring and evaluation system, to facilitate the enthronement of transparency and accountability in the country. The ultimate goal is to enhance inclusive growth and sustainable development at all levels of government’’, he said.
Apparently in recognition of recent developments in the global economy which suggest that the 2016 will largely be financed from non-oil revenue proceeds, the states were encouraged to adopt a similar strategy in financing their owns budgets.
Welcoming participants, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Nana Fatima Mede stated that because of the relevance of strategic planning to growth and development of any nation, the federal government believes that the successor plan will pave the way for effective transformation of Nigeria’s economy, including addressing the lingering international oil price decline and its associated revenue receipts to the country.
She assured the meeting which was attended by state Commissioners for Budget and Economic Planning as well as permanent secretaries and heads of related agencies across the country that the Ministry will work closely with the states for a strong and vibrant National economy.