By Cecilia Ijuo
State Commissioners, Permanent Secretaries and other critical stakeholders have lauded USAID’s efforts to ensure that Nigeria’s states achieve up to 90 percent annual budget execution.
Stakeholders, who were attending a three-day workshop organized by (USAID) as part of its Nigeria Accountability, Transparency and Effectiveness (State2State) project, reported to the Nigeria News Agency (NAN) in Abuja.
They said State2State’s technical assistance in drafting the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) would enable states in Nigeria to achieve considerable budget execution in education, health and other sectors. reviews.
Participants, who came from six states including Sokoto, Ebonyi, Bauchi, Akwa Ibom Adamawa, Gombe, stressed that proper budget planning would ensure not only accountability and transparency in governance, but also equitable distribution of resources.
Mr. Orlando Nweze, Commissioner of Finance and Economic Development, Ebonyi, said the state’s partnership with USAID on the project had had a big impact, especially on the population.
“The program is to have credible physical planning to allow us to have a better strategy for procurement and budget implementation for 2020 to 2024.
“It’s a medium-term plan that will help ministries, sectors and the state in general to be able to do good tax planning.
“For us in Ebonyi State, we are very grateful that this is happening right now because David Umahi’s government is already leading many restructuring processes in the state.
“This is linked to the engagement of citizens, to the openness that we must apply in the functioning of government activities.”
He said that as part of the efforts to have a positive impact on the population, especially in different sectors, Ebonyi State has offered the audio version of the 2021 budget as well as a video version.
Mr. Yahuza Haruna, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, Bauchi State, said that the technical support provided by the State2State project would go a long way in improving the livelihoods of people in different sectors.
“It changes a lot of socio-economic variables of the population, in the health sector, in education, in agriculture and in all other sectors of the economy, you will see the impact happen and people will be happy.
“This is what we want to achieve and we are happy that USAID, as part of the State2State project, is providing us with this technical assistance,” he said.
He also noted that when a budget is realistic, “citizens will be happy because the government is budgeting for what it will do.
“At the end of the day the budget will be implemented maybe 90% or 95%, and then the dividends of democracy will be felt. “
Haruna stressed that the knowledge gained from the workshop would enable the state to prepare an effective, inclusive and achievable budget.
He further noted that training on how to acquire data was a major breakthrough, adding that “data which is normally the bane of developing a great plan.
Dr Mary Paninga, executive chairperson of the Adamawa State Planning Commission, said the knowledge gained from the workshop would go a long way in helping to prepare a realistic and achievable budget.
“We are here to come out with an exceptional and reasonable medium-term expenditure framework and budget strategy document.
“The basics are what make it better than we’re used to.
“This is why we are here to be informed, educated on how to improve the preparation of the MTEF document,” he said.
According to him, the CDMT is the basis for preparing a reliable budget.
“So by the time we get to preparing the state budget, you find out that it will really help to get some form of a realistic budget that is achievable.
“There will be fewer deviations from what is expected and the budget line set will be realistic,” he said.
She added, “For example, you have the inflation rate, you have all the other indices.
“Once they’re estimated correctly and correctly, you’re going to have a somewhat realistic budget.
“So with this information impacting us, it will help us move towards that goal.”
Regarding the transparency of the financial management system, Paninga said, “It is the foundation of every budget and every expenditure of every state.
“The budget must be reliable and once it is reliable you will be held accountable, and this transparency in the execution of the whole document will be the watchword.
“The emphasis is on education, agriculture, health, etc., but these are the highest and safest security.
“To touch the common man. That’s why we have the Open Government Partnership, which involves the community to see and have a say in what is done and what it needs by making its own contribution, ”she said.
According to her, this is why we have civic engagement. The entire state budget must therefore encompass all of this.
“First, the community gives feedback to make sure they get carried away.
“That’s where it affects them when you talk about transparency, accountability and all that.
“They have a say, they have a say and the system is open for access to know if everything that is done there is being done according to what they have asked for or if they have contributed. their contribution. “
The president said USAID’s program was one of the best things to ever happen to the state, as it provided more knowledge on how to get a reliable MTEF.
The Nigeria News Agency (NAN) reports that the State2State project is a five-year project that is supposed to run from 2020 to 2025.
It is designed to enable the states of the federation to manage responsible financial systems that would provide quality service in basic education, health and other priority sectors.
The focal states are Akwa Ibom, Adamawa, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Gombe, Sokoto. (NAN)