….Says fiscal discipline a destination
….Releases N109bn capital vote

By Omoh Gabriel &  Emma Ujah

Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, yesterday, said that states must publish their accounts at end of every financial year to open their books to public scrutiny and ensure transparency and accountability.

Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun
Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun

Adeosun actually challenged state governors not to hide anything relating to their spending, including security votes, from the public.

She said: “Fiscal discipline is a destination; we will continue to improve discipline on an ongoing basis. FG has commenced similar reforms at the federal level with success. Ghost workers which we prefer to call payroll clean-up has been very successful and the continuous audit unit at the FG level will continue to monitor and improve our efforts there.

“We have saved  N 6.6 billion on a monthly basis. This is all about good housekeeping.    The  efficiency units  has already had success with travel, food, sitting allowance and they will now look at adverts. We are all aware of the efforts on plugging leakages and recoveries.’’

Contract between the States and FG

Adeosun said that state governments had a key role in diversifying Nigeria’s economy. According to her: “We see the states as strong partners in diversifying our economy away from oil and getting Nigeria working again. This is one of the key drivers behind the administration’s fiscal sustainability plan with states. It is about improving accountability and transparency, increasing public revenue, effective expenditure, improving public financial management and managing debt sustainably.        This is true reform, it starts with discipline and ends with diversification of our economy.      Last month’s FAAC distribution was made up largely of revenue collections and not only oil revenue.  N305.12 billion was distributed in May; though it was only  N23.62 billion higher in May than in April, the pleasing thing is that was funded by locally generated revenue.

On the new  foreign exchange policy, the Minister said: “We are happy with the new FX policy, this was the missing link between monetary and fiscal policy and we are happy that is now in place.    It is supply and demand driven.”

On policies to support  large manufacturers,  the Minister said: “It is not about only one policy but a framework of policies to ensure competitiveness both for local consumption and for exports. This would include looking into tariffs, Customs, Power, etc.”

On the  N350bn disbursement  planned for this quarter, the Minister said that “N109 billion out of the  N350 billion has already been disbursed.    The funds are ready, however, there are procedural delays, due to the required public procurement processes.”

The selection process however, allows for many new capable companies to participate in the process and getting involved in the FG projects.

On  China, the Minister said that the CBN will be best placed to provide details of what was agreed but from a technical point of view, the principle is that both Nigeria and China can directly exchange each other’s currencies without changing into US Dollars first.There are 22 action points of reform to achieve 5 key objects.    The objectives are: to improve accountability & transparency, to increase public revenue, to rationalise public expenditure; to improve public financial management and ssustainable debt management.

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