Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) and Nigeria’s Engaged Citizens Pillar (ECP) have commenced activities aimed at strengthening fiscal governance in Kaduna, Jigawa and other North West states till 2023.
The programme which helps citizens to engage more effectively in government reform, budget transparency, and service delivery, is also aimed at strengthening the economy.
Speaking during a maiden press briefing, to herald their activities, the deputy national team leader (Technical) of PERL, Mr John Mutu, said Kaduna Jigawa and other North West states would be supported in the programme.
“We will ensure there is information, communication materials and briefing notes developed and shared with stakeholders during this programme and citizens will be empowered with relevant data and information to enable them to advocate for fiscal governance at the national and sub-national level and economic resilience at the national and sub-national level,” he said.
The initiative, according to him, encourages citizens to participate in these processes and improves the use of learning and evidence to guide decision making.
He said, “Originally scheduled to finish in 2021, the initiative has been extended for two years, until March 2023, to reflect FCDO Nigeria’s revised goals and footprint. Programme areas have been refocused to highlight girl education, health, and open societies in accordance with the new strategic objective.
“One of the key objectives of the ECP initiative is to engage citizens on issues that affect the country, and it is with this in mind that the programme has organised a one-day brainstorming session on the effects and impacts of weak fiscal governance frameworks and the emerging current economic challenges that is unfolding in Nigeria. The event is designed to provide a platform for Thought Leaders and experts across the country to reflect/brainstorm on these issues and provide recommendations in form of policy options that can influence or shape government and stakeholders’ response or action. The idea is to stimulate broad-based, proactive and constructive discussions by participants and make recommendations for government and policy makers to act or respond.
“The importance of Nigeria’s fiscal convergence and consolidation cannot be overstated. This is especially crucial given that according to the National Bureau of Statistics, the economy has recently entered a recession. The high level of fiscal indiscipline at the subnational level, which is mostly due to improper incentives provided by unconditional fiscal transfers from the federal government, is one prominent cause. As a result, improvements in compliance with fiscal laws, data transparency, and the introduction of performance-based awards are required to incentivize improved fiscal performance at the subnational government level. In a nutshell, fiscal governance affects how budgetary policy is formulated and implemented, with national numerical fiscal rules, medium-term budgetary frameworks, and autonomous fiscal institutions being the most prominent examples,” Mutu said.