Explain what the new Finance Function of the Ministry of Finance that was launched last week, is all about. What is it meant to achieve?
Public Financial Management (PFM) involves various methods used to mobilise resources, allocate funds for spending, account for the funds and measure the results achieved through periodic performance measurement and evaluation. The new finance function is geared towards transparency, accountability, inclusiveness, efficiency, and effectiveness in PFM.
It is anchored on reforms made to legal and institutional frameworks, processes and procedures, people, plus technology. These reforms have taken place in Kaduna state for optimal service delivery. The state has introduced new policy documents to provide guidance on different areas from service delivery to health and safety matters. All payment processes and procedures have been fully digitalised from end to end using the Microsoft Navision platform.
The digitalisation of services means services are more transparent, accessible, and provides the option of hybrid and remote working. Another key area is the introduction of the Citizens Accountability Report (CAR) in English and Hausa. The CAR is expected to reach a wider target group with its availability in Hausa. It is a tool that can be used by the citizens to hold government accountable for utilization of public funds. Additional tools that have been introduced are the centralised procurement and shared services to provide value for money in procurement and service provision, a self-interactive e-learning portal with a yearly mandatory anti- corruption training and the KDTracker which is a mobile application available in English, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, and other foreign languages. The mobile app provides an open, seamless, and transparent platform for vendors and contractors, staff and Ministries, Departments and Agencies to access financial services and opportunities in Kaduna state.
There is also the Queries and Enquiries unit which serves as a one stop space for issues resolution for financial and information technology matters with contact option of live chat on the web, mobile app, telephone, or direct visit. These are just a few among several others.
The new finance function is expected to offer more transparent, accessible, and user-friendly services using the latest available technology. It will minimize corruption and reduce fraudulent practices.
How does Citizens Accountability Report help in holding government to account? Explain the process.
The CAR report clearly shows what public funds were spent on and if the spending prioritized the people’s input from the Budget. There’s a grievance redressal mechanism available through the Budget and Planning Commission. The process starts from there and then escalated to the highest level for necessary actions to be taken.
Kaduna state has been ranked first by most financial professional bodies in its management of public finance. What is the state doing differently?
Kaduna state has been ranked first by most financial professional bodies because of its commitment to achieving good governance. The government promotes the principles of good governance which are efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, accountability, inclusiveness, participation, consensus oriented, equity, responsiveness from the top to the bottom. This result driven strategy has contributed significantly to the success that the state records in terms of public financial management.
Owing to these reforms, Kaduna State Government has been rated first in the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) Accountability Index in 2018 and 2019, the State Fiscal Transparency and Accountability (SFTAS) Programme from a list of 23 states. Kaduna state was also ranked first by the 2021 Transparency and Integrity Index (TII) survey which was conducted by the Centre for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch (CeFTIW). The state scored 76.67% to attain this position. Also, we have been in compliance with Accrual Basis IPSAS in preparing and presenting our financial statements since 2016. The state leads in Fiscal Transparency, as the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) Open States Ranking and Report, ranked our state as the first in Nigeria in Open Budgeting and Contracting. The government ensures participatory budgeting by citizens, implements open contracting data standards, has improved the Ease of Doing Business and has developed a citizen feedback portal.
What specific reforms has the present administration enunciated since the Malam Nasir El-Rufai government assumed office?
The Malam Nasir El-Rufa’i administration has championed major reforms in every sector. The government was the first to subscribe to the Open Government Partnership (OGP) to promote good governance. Several reforms have been implemented in the executive, legislature and judicial arms of government for efficiency and effective delivery of public goods and services. The three arms of government have worked harmoniously with a clear strategy and direction for the wellbeing of its citizenry.
So, these reforms can be seen in the number of outdated laws that have been updated to be in tandem with the time, introduction of new laws that are required for better governance, public service reform and infrastructure development.
In what ways has the deployment of technology improved the service delivery of the Ministry of Finance?
The deployment of technology to carry out all processes and procedures in the Ministry of Finance means the services in the ministry are fully digitalised from end to end. This implies that public financial services can be carried on from anywhere around the world and at any time with the ability to provide reports in real time. The coming of Covid-19 and climate change factors have further created the need to use technology to be able to provide hybrid or remote work without interruption. This makes services more accessible, simpler, and quicker. It improves transparency and accountability, provides an audit trail, improves accounting record keeping and internal control.
Is the Ministry of Finance a revenue generating ministry or just the custodian of public funds?
The Ministry of Finance is the custodian of the state’s funds and also generates revenue for the state. The ministry strategizes with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies for optimized revenue generation. The ministry has its revenue lines which includes, but not limited to management of the state’s investment portfolio for maximum return on investment.
In what ways has the Ministry of Finance helped in improving the Internally Generated Revenue of Kaduna state?
The Ministry of Finance strategizes with all revenue generating Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). These strategies are reviewed periodically for efficiency and effectiveness. If gaps are identified, remedial measures are taken to ensure that given targets are met. The performance of MDAs and evaluation is dependent on the Ministry of Finance. At the highest level, there’s a committee that drives the revenue process headed by the Chairman Economic Development Council with the Commissioner of Finance as the Deputy Chairman.
-Kaduna State Government has been rated first in the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) Accountability Index for 2018 and 2019;
-The state also came tops in the State Fiscal Transparency and Accountability (SFTAS) Programme and FITCH rating Agency, from a list of 24 states;.
-It scored 76.6% to come first in the 2021 Transparency and Integrity Index (TII) survey, which was conducted by the Centre for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch (CeFTIW) ;
-The state has been in compliance with Accrual Basis IPSAS in preparing and presenting its financial statements since 2016;
-The Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) Open States Ranking and Report, rated the state as the first in Nigeria in Open Budgeting and Contracting;
-The government ensures participatory budgeting with citizens, implements open contracting data standards and has improved Ease of Doing Business as well as developed a citizen feedback portal.
-It has attracted about $2.6 billion through domestic and foreign investments as a result of the yearly Kaduna Investment Summit (KADINVEST), which was initiated in 2016;
-Kaduna state is ranked as number one in the Ease of Doing Business by the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2018 due to the Open Government Partnership initiative;
-The Kaduna State Government’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) has risen from N11.7bn to N50.7bn (2020) in the last six years.