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BudgIT Report Is Catalyst For Enhanced Responsibility, Accountability In Nigeria’s Public Finance – Shettima

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Sen. Kashim Shettima
Vice President Kashim Shettima

In a significant development, Vice President Kashim Shettima has hailed the report presented by BudgIT Foundation Nigeria as a groundbreaking standard for fostering responsibility and accountability in the management of Nigeria’s public finances.

Shettima’s special adviser on economic affairs, Dr. Tope Fasua represented him during the launch of the BudgIT 2023 ‘State of States’ report, which revolved around the theme “Subnational Healthcare Delivery for Improved Economic Development”.

The report is an annual assessment that comparatively analyses the fiscal performance and standing of the 36 states in the federation. This research initiative began with its first edition in 2017 and four additional editions have since followed. It succinctly evaluates how states fund their budgets using internally generated revenues, how they prioritise investments in human capital development and the sustainability of their borrowing practices.

The vice president underscored the significance of gradual societal transformation and lauded BudgIT Foundation for being a catalytic force in driving development. He stressed the centrality of good health to economic growth, emphasising that a thriving gross domestic product (GDP) hinges on a healthy populace. While commending the BudgIT Foundation’s efforts in drilling down to the state level, he also called attention to the importance of focusing on local governments, especially in rural areas that have often been overlooked. He suggested that future initiatives should concentrate on these local areas and assess their progress alongside their respective states.

Shettima raised concerns about the efficiency of healthcare spending, urging that funds allocated to healthcare should be judiciously utilised. He cited abandoned primary healthcare centres, particularly in rural areas where there’s a dearth of healthcare providers, as examples of spending inefficiency. He assured that the data and insights presented in the BudgIT Foundation’s ‘State of State’ 2023 report would be considered and integrated into the government’s strategic plans.

Presenting the report, the head of research and policy advisory at BudgIT, Mr. Iniobong Usen disclosed that states’ reliance on transfers from the Federal Government increased from 58.4 per cent in 2021 to 61.45 per cent in 2022. He pointed out that at least 70 per cent of the total revenue for 16 states was comprised of federal transfers, and 32 states depended on such transfers for at least 50 per cent of their revenue. Usen also noted that the cumulative revenue of the 36 states increased by 28.95 per cent from N5.12 trillion in 2021 to N6.6 trillion in 2022. He reported that the internally generated revenue (IGR) of the 36 states rose by 12.98 per cent, climbing from N1.61 trillion in 2021 to N1.82 trillion in 2022, reflecting improved domestic revenue mobilisation capabilities. However, he added that the IGR to GDP ratio remained quite low at 1.01 per cent. The increase in IGR was not uniform, as 17 states saw a decline, while 19 states experienced positive growth.

Usen also highlighted the under-5 mortality rate, indicating that the southwest of Nigeria had the lowest figures with 48 deaths per 1,000 live births, while the northwest had the worst regional record with 158 deaths per 1,000 live births. Lagos exhibited the lowest figures in the country, whereas Sokoto had the worst, revealing a stark regional contrast. “One in every 10 children in Nigeria does not make it to their 5th birthday, while one in every seven children born in the northwest does not make it to their 5th birthday,” he lamented.

The country director of BudgIT, Mr. Gabriel Okeowo emphasised that the 2023 ‘State of States’ report centres on how subnational entities prioritise investments in human capital development and the sustainability of their borrowing practices. He clarified that the report’s objective is to assess the fiscal performance and position of the 36 states in a comparative manner. It scrutinises how states finance their budgets, weighing their internal revenue generation against their reliance on federal allocations. 

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