The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has said that fiscal discipline, improved revenue generation, rational allocation and efficient use of resources must be imbibed in every tier of government in the country to return the economy to the path of sustainable growth and development.
Adeosun stated this on Thursday in a keynote address at a Retreat organized by the Federal Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) on the theme ‘Enhancing the Effectiveness of FAAC,’ in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state.
In a statement made available to The Daily Times by the ministry’s Director of Information, Mr. Salisu Na’Inna, the minister said that the economic reforms of the Federal Government have been geared towards wealth creation, employment generation, poverty reduction, development of the non-oil sector and value re-orientation.
Adeosun who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Finance Ministry, Dr. Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, said “the present government is intensifying efforts in this direction and very soon the multiplier effect will become obvious.”
“Other efforts needed to put the country on sustainable growth include the refocusing attention on quality investment in the real sectors of the economy namely agriculture, manufacturing, mines and steel, as well as the promotion of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises as the critical contributors to the growth of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Programmes like the promotion of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMES), the initiation of N-Power and a number of others were designed to empower the citizenry, encourage private enterprises and change the way Government does business. It is my firm belief that the pursuit of economic diversification through promotion of private enterprises is one of the ways we can unlock the untapped socio-economic potentials for social progress, economic growth and national development,” Mrs. Adeosun said.
She explained that the retreat, which was attended by all the Commissioners of Finance from the 36 States of the Federation and the Account-General of the States, came at a critical time when the country was combating a recession in the face of dwindling Government revenue.
“This Retreat is predicated on the need to provide a platform for participants to contribute to the on-going efforts to mitigate the shocks that the economy is currently experiencing as a result of the revenue shortfalls,” the minister reiterated.
Mrs. Adeosun charged participants “to collectively come up with constructive ideas that will facilitate the implementation of the present government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which is aimed at achieving sustained inclusive growth through structural transformation and diversification of the economy.”
The minister stated that the three tiers of Government should apply the best international practice in Public financial management and emphasized: “We must block all observed loopholes and strengthen public financial management. While making frantic efforts to realize this, there is urgent need to reposition FAAC for enhanced performance through efficient management of accrued scarce resources for national development.“
In his remarks, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Deacon Udom Emmanuel, who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Moses Ekpo, called for the review of the current Revenue Allocation Formula.
The governor said: “Given our common experience about development in our country, our sharing formula should be weighted more towards the states and local government councils than the practice today.”
Governor Emmanuel said that Akwa Ibom has successfully become a major producer of tomatoes, onions and cassava in commercial quantity as a result of the efforts of his administration to diversify the economic base of the state.
“Our state has joined the league of others in the production of Cocoa, rice and other cash crops in commercial quantities,” he said.