Sanwo-Olu, Ahmed chart pathway to public finance management
Minister urges states to redouble efforts on IGR drive
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, have stressed the need for the country to optimise spending, cut down on waste and excesses, and focus more attention on three exploring ways “to do more with less.”
They stated that the country’s revenue reforms, which are mainly focused on sustained improvement on non-oil taxes, had started yielding results, urging state governments to redouble efforts aimed at increasing Internal Generated Revenue (IGR).
The duo spoke, yesterday, at the National Council on Finance and Economic Development (NACOFED) conference, tagged: “Public Sector Finance Management in the New Normal (Post COVID-19),” held in Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu stated that a robust public finance management system is a critical pathway for the efficient and effective delivery of the dividends of democracy to the people and must therefore be carried out in a manner that is transparent and accountable to all.
He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had indeed been a wake-up call on many fronts, as it has exposed gaps and highlighted vulnerabilities in the way public finances are handled.
Ahmed, on her part, said that the country’s recovery rate from the pandemic had been sustainably good and encouraging.
She added that the country’s economy had been bouncing back to normal and based on the current economic outlook, the economy is projected to grow by 1.5 per cent this year and 2.9 per cent in 2022.
“Therefore, as we move to reset opportunities, the focus should be on growing and consolidating the recovery efforts.
“In the effort to consolidate on this achievement, the government is taking further proactive measures to develop policies aimed at improving the various sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, information technology and innovation, social infrastructure, and others, which are part of our broader economic agenda. The efforts we started about six years ago have been instrumental in closing out the revenue gap created by the pandemic,” she said.
“The amendments introduced by the support of the National Assembly on the Finance Act of 2019 and 2020, combined with the Government Strategic Revenue Growth Initiatives (SRGI), have also cumulatively yielded the desired results of enhancing sustainable increase in government revenue, promoting fiscal equity, aligning domestic tax laws with global best practices, tax incentives for infrastructure development and capital markets as well as micro, small and medium enterprises.
“The initiatives have also helped in strengthening institutions and agencies. With this development, we are already on our way to achieving the target of a tax to revenue ratio of 15 per cent by 2023.”