By Matthew Ogune, Abuja
MINISTER of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has emphasised the need for the country to sustainably address the longstanding challenge of domestic revenue mobilization to boost investment in key sectors of the economy.
Ahmed made this call on Sunday in Abuja during the opening ceremony of a three day capacity building for special advisers and technical assistants of the
Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Listing the areas that needed investment to include agriculture, infrastructure, health, and education, she stated that the height could be achieved through continued implementation of the Strategic Revenue Generation Initiative (SRGI), continued incremental fiscal reforms via the introduction of annual finance bills, as well as reducing the cost of governance.
The Minister noted that the nation must also look beyond the short term and ensure that policies and programmes developed under the current administration are institutionalised and implemented.
She disclosed that the government was working collaboratively across MDAs to address key cross-cutting issues, stating: “This includes working to significantly reduce poverty and harness our demographic dividend in order to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth, partly through job creation and by enabling the private sector and prioritizing human capital
The Minister stressed the need to re-imagine the social contract between Government and its citizens, and deepen the commitments to the Open Government Partnership, and also to open and transparent governance and citizens engagement.
She continued: “We therefore remain committed to ensuring that our citizens have access to the necessary tools and information with which to engage government in the development and implementation of critical policies and public services, particularly in areas such as education and health.
“We will continue to work on improving the economic empowerment of women
and girls – a key driver of economic growth, improved development outcomes, and improved economic resiliency.
“Additionally, we will focus on enabling digital transformation and disruptive innovation, in part through the development of and implementation of an integrated national digital identification system to help drive digital and financial inclusion.
“We will continue to improve the enabling environment for the private sector to ensure the creation of jobs and support our diversification away
from oil and gas.”
According to Ahmed the work of Special Advisers, is critical for the post-COVID 19 Nigerian Economy, adding that the Federal Government response to COVID-19 was designed to ensure necessary transformation and innovation in the fiscal space and beyond, as Nigeria works to lessen the impact of the resulting recession.
In his remarks, the Ambassador of the Republic of Germany to Nigeria, Mrs Birgitt Ory who highlited three elements of good governance to include, institutions, diversity and ownership, explained: “First: institutions
institutions should be effective, reliable and transparent. This is important for political accountability but also for economic development. If institutions are strong and reliable, businesses will be more likely to invest. If there is one thing that private sector investors do not like, it is uncertainty. Uncertainty about investment conditions, the legal system or political stability will deter investment. In contrast, strong and reliable institutions contribute to stability, reliable framework conditions and enable business.
“Strong institutions dont only need to be efficient, they also need to be inclusive. The link between good governance and diversity is a very important one in our time.
“In the 21st century, diversity is a fact of life. In the age of globalization and information technology, geographical, cultural and linguistic borders that used to separate people have become less relevant.
“Our task as 21st century citizens is to embrace diversity and to turn it into a source of energy for progress. Diversity is and should be a source of strength, not a source of division.
“This is our experience in the European Union. And this is a very important
aspect of good governance in our modern age.
“At the end of the day, good governance needs ownership. It cannot be “imported”. Good governance needs to come from within. I want to encourage you all to strive for good govemance and to thereby enhance opportunities and contribute to meet current challenges.”
On his part, the Resident Representative of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), Dr. Vladimir Kreck disclosed that the foundation had over the past month, interacted with the ministry to design a specific training program that will provide requisite skills, knowledge and attitude to ministerial aids for an improved performance.
Noting that good governance translates everywhere in the world into respect for the rule of law, transparancy, accountability, efficiency and equity, Kreck added that it also translates, when internatlized and applied by government actors, into societal
cohesion and economic development for the good of the people.
He said that the German foundation was hopeful that the training would entail improvement of good governance and an increase of effectiveness against the backdrop of developing a new long term national development plan.
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