Stakeholders on public financial management have called for constitutional amendment to establish a strong Nigeria’s national savings culture and financial stabilization mechanism.
This is contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a round-table meeting on “Savings and Stabilization Mechanism for Nigeria’’ on Sunday in Enugu.
The meeting organised by the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation agreed that a constitutional amendment with provisions that guaranteed automatic savings of surplus revenues from oil, gas and minerals with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) had become inevitable.
“The Federal Government should follow Due process in management of the Excess Crude Account (ECA) in line with demands from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the Fiscal Responsibility Commission.
“The Federal Government should place a priority on investment over consumption as well as increase transparency regarding revenue inflow and outflow from the Federation Account.
“The Federal Government should ensure that the Niger Delta Master Plan is revised and fully implemented, while ensuring that disbursement of funds from stabilization accounts is absolutely discouraged.
“The Federal Government should ensure that all tiers of government meet their financial obligations to the Sovereign Wealth Fund account.
“ It should also collapse the ECA Account and 0.5 per cent Stabilization account into the stabilization account of the Sovereign Wealth Fund,’’ the group held.
They also noted that the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) needed to play their part of developing effective message to drive conversations regarding transparency and accountability on savings and stabilization funds.
They further urged the CSOs to adapt and share content regarding savings and stabilization frameworks that had worked in other countries.
According to them, they should help to simplify data, statistics, indicators and analysis for people at the grassroots to engage in savings.
The stakeholders were of the opinion that a sustained conversations and messaging on savings and stabilization mechanisms with key advocacy actors, oil and media was required.
They said awareness on the importance and benefits of effective stabilization mechanisms to society at all levels must be carried out.
“There is need to include traditional and religious leaders in advocacy initiatives in this direction while creating awareness on the need for proper implementation of the budget.
“Utilize mechanisms deployed by `Not-Too-Young-To-Run’ for effective advocacy campaigns, even as CSOs collectively and consistently demand transparency in all Public-Private sector initiatives,’’ they said.
The communiqué was signed by Mr Amara Nwankpa, Director, Public Policy Initiative, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation and Dr Christopher Kalu, Lecturer in Economics Department, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State.
The round-table meeting was attended by experts on petroleum, energy economics and public policy as well as CSOs and the media from the South-East.