The World Bank is advising state governments in Nigeria on what to do to generate more revenue internally
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Oct 26, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |
THE World Bank is currently collaborating with the state governments to improve their internally generated revenue, IGR. Bayo Awoseni, head of procurement, World Bank Office in Nigeria, told a delegation from the Katsina State government led by Governor Aminu Masari of the state, who came to seek working partnership with.
Speaking on the need to find solutions to the dwindling finances available to states, Awoseni explained that the bank was presently partnering the states under the auspices of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, to see how improvements in IGR could be achieved to augment revenue accruals from the Federation Account. According to him, reports showed that at present some states, including Katsina, depend almost 100 percent on federal allocation with little or no emphasis on internal revenue sources.
The World Bank is also looking at how the states can improve on governance mechanism, working out measures to improve on the systems on ground to make service deliver more transparent and effective. According to the world apex financial institution, there are steps most of the states currently experiencing downward slide in revenue accruals could take to jack-up their earning profile if only they would be ready to implement certain reforms.
It observed that part of the problems militating against increase in IGR was the inefficient tax administration. While welcoming Governor Masari’s proposals for partnership with the bank, Rachid Bemessaoud, country director of the bank, pledged the support of the bank for the state in order to help solve the problems in the education and health sectors.
He said World Bank intends to formally start engagement with the federal government as soon as the ministers are in place to provide assistance to the country.
He also said there was need for the various states to review its water laws to facilitate inflow of the much needed resources and investment to implement water projects. On the issue of water supply problem confronting Katsina, the bank’s scribe said the major focus would be on the improvement of the management of utility agencies in the state, adding that it hopes to achieve significant results in the drive latest in the next one year.
While making a presentation to the World Bank team, Governor Masari said feasibility studies conducted by the state government clearly indicated that an estimated N115 billion would be required to fix problems in the three key sectors including education, agriculture and infrastructure. He added that poor water supply was a major challenge for the people of the state and required massive investment efforts to address the situation. “We believe that we are able to tackle the problem of water supply we would have succeeded in reducing the exposure to infections and diseases thereby drastically curbing the healthcare challenges,” he said.
The governor lamented that the last 16 years had been the best era in terms of availability of resources but unfortunately these resources were not properly channelled to address long- standing needs of the people. “In the area of education, foundation education — primary and secondary school, we need at least N45billion to put all the educational infrastructures and then programme ourselves in getting qualified teachers, laboratories and all other educational equipments.
“In the health sector also, we have 22 General Hospitals and over 30 health centres. In our estimation we need nothing less than N70 billion because the current health centres are not enough, coupled with how effective or costly it is to employ consultants. Really, we have done our arithmetic. We have our facts and figures. As such, we are starting from a knowledge based situation. That that was why when we came on board we carried out a baseline studies of all the infrastructures. We didn’t seat in the office and demand for such documents because the officials could give us wrong documents. We went to the schools and hospitals physically and counted the number of students’ patients and the equipments they need, he said.
Masari said the state would make an honest and transparent presentation of findings to the World Bank. “We know how much the state is getting from the Federation account and how much we are spending in terms of salary, overhead and consumables and we know how much is left for capital investment.
World Bank had said it was currently implementing four major projects in Katsina State which included: community and social development projects ($4 million), HIV project $5million and FADAMA three projects ($5 million) in the agriculture sector. It also stated that Katsina would benefit from the planned irrigation project worth ($20 million) and an intervention project in the country’s education sector worth $100 million. On the whole, it is estimated that Katsina would be benefit from World Bank project funding to the tune of $35 million.