The federal government has called on state governments to reduce unnecessary overhead costs, increase Internally Generated Revenue and embrace fiscal discipline for proper management of available resources.
The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, made the call on Monday in Kaduna at the 2018 Conference of the National Council on Finance and Economic Development (NACOFED).
According to Paul Abechi, media aide to the minister, the conference has as its theme: “Unlocking the Potentials of Non-Oil Sector as a Sustainable Source of Government Revenue.”
Ahmed urged states to look inwards to harness various avenues to improve on their financial resources to enable them to meet demands in their states.
“It is on record that due to persistent domestic fall in oil revenue over the past years, it became extremely difficult, if not impossible, for us to meet duly budgeted obligations.
“This happened because of the age-long over-reliance on oil, even though Nigeria is abundantly endowed with multiple resources, which provide varied sources of revenue.
“There are stupendous potentials for diversification of source of revenue we can reflect soberly on our national endowments and make conscious efforts to exploit and manage them effectively,” she said.
Ahmed said there was the need to develop cost-effective strategies to increase the nation’s internal revenue, reduce unnecessary overhead costs, and enthrone fiscal discipline and transparency.
This, she said, was to optimise available limited resources, while efforts are sustained to broaden the nation’s revenue base.
“On the federal government’s part, we will continue to strive to ensure that all federation revenues are accounted for in the most transparent manner and managed efficiently to deliver on the dividends of democracy to the citizenry.
“Let me acknowledge and commend the wisdom behind the development of the new revenue reporting template that was engineered by the commissioners of finance.
“It is imperative to mention that its implementation will be one of the key reforms in revenue remittances into the Federation Account,” she said.
The minister said that the present administration had demonstrated the necessary political will and had been very supportive in its drive to explore other relevant revenue sources to turn the tide in favour of the federation account and the nation in general.
“Therefore, the theme of this year’s conference is thought-provoking and in tandem with the present government’s focus on diversifying our economy away from oil to non-oil sources of revenue and building a robust economy with sustainable revenue base,” she Ahmed said.
She emphasised the need for state governments to leverage on sectors lying fallow in their states to consolidate on the financial allocation they receive from the federation account.
“We must get back to agriculture, develop our solid minerals sector, further streamline and reinforce our tax collection systems, block all avenues for revenue leakages, continue to strengthen our borders to stem smuggling and abhor all forms of corruption.
“We have to cultivate a new culture of efficient resource management and genuine paradigm shifts to enable us utilise the untapped resources in a more efficient manner.
“These I believe we can do, notwithstanding the mistakes of our past, I am confident that this conference will rekindle our hope and embolden us to take practical steps towards unlocking the potentials in the non-oil sector in our respective states,” she said.