Nigeria Govt, USAID, other partners brainstorm on sustaining governance reforms

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By Cecilia Ijuo/Angela Atabo

Abuja, Aug. 16, 2022(NAN) The Federal Government in collaboration with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other development partners have harped on reform sustainability.

They made this known at a Federal Policy Dialogue organised under USAID State Accountability, Transparency and Effectiveness (State2State) Activity on Tuesday in Abuja.

The dialogue with the theme, “Post-State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS): Incentivising Reforms” had governors and other stakeholders in attendance.

The Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal reiterated the need to institutionalise reform initiatives in Nigeria.

Tambuwal said institutionalising reforms would ensure properly structured delivery of developmental programmes of government, noting that one of the ways of driving, was to fully involve technocrats in the governance system.

“Reforms need to be institutionalised because the world is dynamic and governance is dynamic.

“There is a need for review and reform of systems of governance, especially where we are talking about efforts aimed at improving governance.

“So, while reforms are necessary, institutionalising them is also critical.

“One of the ways to achieve that is to keep engaging technocrats in reform processes because they are necessary and are needed at all times,” he said.

He stressed that technocrats or civil servants like permanent secretaries were required to drive the process.

According to him, they remain longer in the system than political appointees who leave at the expiration of their tenure.

Gombe State Governor, Alhaji Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya said his government was working assiduously to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people.

He called on the need for judicious use of available resources to provide needed developmental programmes to citizens.

Yahaya commended USAID State2State activity for the technical support given to Gombe State to deliver on its mandate.

Dr Joe Abah, Country Director, DAI Nigeria, said one of the objectives of the State2State activity was to improve management of public finances.

He said it was important for citizens to be aware of how governments use public funds.

“The question is how accountable is a government to the people, how well does it plan its budget, does it consult people when it develops a budget, does it consult people when it plans infrastructure?

“Other questions are, are resources transparently audited, do civil society organisations have access to how government money is spent?

“The activity is also focused on how to avoid fraud in the procurement system.

It also focuses on improving health, education and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH),” he said.

He said the ripple effect of a transparent financial system was availability of more funds for various projects.

Abah said, “for instance, Governor Aminu Tambuwal said the SFTAS grant he got as a result of increased transparency is being used to build a 1,500 bed hospital.

“So, greater transparency brings about the ability to deploy more resources to places where they really matter.

“In Gombe State for instance, a lot of the resources are being deployed to build a ring road that connects all 13 local governments in the state and that is a tangible benefit to the citizens,” he said.

The country director stressed the need to prioritise Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), saying it was a critical reform indicator. (NAN)