Stakeholders ask for strong national savings


Stakeholders on public financial management, on Sunday, called for

constitutional amendment of section 162 of the 1999 Constitution to

establish a strong national savings and financial stabilization

mechanism.

This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a roundtable

meeting on “Savings and Stabilization Mechanism for Nigeria’’.

The roundtable meeting, which was held on Friday in Enugu, was

organised by the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation.

The communique noted that it was unanimously agreed that the

establishment of a savings and stabilization mechanism would require a

constitutional amendment with provisions that guarantee automatic

savings of surplus revenues from oil, gas and minerals with the

Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).

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“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 as well

as ensure that energy data and statistics are accessible to the

public.

“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

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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 communiqué  said.

It 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.

It urged CSOs to adapt and share content regarding savings and

stabilization frameworks that have worked in other countries as well

as simplify data, statistics, indicators and analysis for Nigerians at

the grassroots level to engage in savings and stabilization funds

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conversations.

“There is a need to sustain conversations and messaging on savings

and stabilization mechanisms with key advocacy actors, oil and media

as well as create awareness on the importance and benefits of

effective stabilization mechanisms to society at all levels.

“There was 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,’’ it 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 roundtable meeting was attended by Experts on petroleum, energy

economics and public policy as well as CSOs and the media from the

South-East.