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Ways to end economic recession, by FRC chairman

By Clement Nwoji (Abuja) and Uzoma Nzeagwu (Awka)   |   12 October 2016   |   3:13 am

Minister for Finance, Kemi Adeosun PHOTO: SUNDAY AGHAEZE/STATE HOUSE

Minister for Finance, Kemi Adeosun PHOTO: SUNDAY AGHAEZE/STATE HOUSE

The current economic recession has been blamed on violation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, depletion of the Excess Crude Account (ECA) and continuous fall in price of crude oil at the international market.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, however, said the nation could emerge from the slump through borrowing, diversification, sale of national assets, lowering interest rates of loans, and cutting down cost of governance.

The Acting Chairman of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC), Victor Muruako, explained the cause of the economic decline, yesterday, during the opening session of a two-day stakeholders’ forum on ‘Building a strategic framework for reducing the cost of governance’, at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja.

Muruako said: “It is worthy of note that successive governments have been misled by selfish counsel on cutting the cost of governance, while realities of very obvious cases of high overhead costs stare us in the face.”

“We have seen where budgets were prepared, not for necessity or solutions required in our system, but in such careless manner that agencies only fixed figures on paper, just to fulfill requirements. This is why we support zero-based budget, which is replacing the incremental one, where no critical effort is made to look at issues or specific items or requirements of the sectors.”

Adeosun, who was represented by the Director Special Duties, Mohammed Kari Dikwa, said through cost cutting measures introduced by the ministry, since inception of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, budgeting and spending had changed.

Reeling statistics to buttress her position, she said the Federal Government had spent over N717.9 billion for capital expenditures, as at September 30, 2016, far more than what was spent by previous administration within the same timeframe.

On initiatives for cutting cost through the Treasury Single Account (TSA), she said 17,000 commercial bank accounts owned by various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) were closed down, just as the Federal Government saved N140 billion from Cost of Turnover (COT).

She added that N3.2 trillion belonging to the three tiers of government were mopped up into the TSA and disbursed accordingly, as at September 30, 2016.

The Anambra State Commissioner for Information, Communications and Strategy, Ogbuefi Tony Nnacheta, meanwhile has described stimulus package by the Governor Willie Obiano administration as successful in cushioning effects of the economic recession in the state.

At a briefing, yesterday, in Awka, Nnacheta added that government had set aside fund for the development of 500 hectares of land in all agrarian communities in the three senatorial zones of the state.

He urged citizens to form groups in order to benefit from the scheme. He gave the assurance that government would sustain its policy for economic growth in the state.

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