The two-day training for Government MDAs on Resource Mobilization, Responsive Fiscal Governance and Participatory Budget Process for Effective Service Delivery at the Sub-National Level attracted stakeholders under the Oxfam Financing for Development (F4D) Strategic Partnership, Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Oxfam Partners including Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group, Actionaid, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, KEBETKACHE Women Development and Resource Centre, and BudgIT under the Oxfam F4D Implementing states of Enugu, Rivers, Delta, and Lagos as well as the FCT, Abuja. The training was declared open by His Excellency, The Enugu State Governor, who was represented by Her Excellency, The Deputy Governor, Mrs. Celicia Ezeilo; In attendance were also the Secretary to the Enugu State Government Elder Dr. G.O.C Ajah (mni) who gave a welcome remark and also a good number of commissions from various Ministries in Enugu State. A representative of Oxfam Country Director, Mrs. Evelyn Mere Deputy Country Director, gave the opening remarks and training objectives.
Following the registration of participants, the Executive Director of NDEBUMOG, Dr George-Hill Anthony gave a presentation on Connecting the SDGs by Sub-National Governments: Perspectives on Enugu State as part of the official opening ceremony.
We,the 106 participants from Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) from Enugu, Delta, Lagos and Rivers States met in the training workshop organized by Oxfam Novib in conjunction with the Enugu State Government and other partners learnt and brainstormed on how to address the current challenges of resource mobilization, responsive fiscal governance and participatory budget process for effective service delivery at the subnational level.
Participants at the workshop observed that:
1. This workshop is part of Oxfam’s Strategic Partnership Program – Financing for Development (F4DN-SP).
2. The delivery format of the workshop included ten (10) lead presentations followed by exhaustive discussions by the participants. The following lead presentations were made: a) Connecting the SDGs by Subnational Governments: Perspectives on Enugu State; b) Transformative Leadership as a Mechanism for Effective Service Delivery; c) Resource Mobilization: Non-Oil Economy for States in Nigeria; d) Intergovernmental Collaboration and Partnerships for Increased Resources Window for Development; e) Community Participation in PFEM: Creating Windows for Communities through Fiscal Inclusion at the States and LGs Level; f) Fiscal Governance and Service Delivery at Subnational Level: The Role of MDAs at the State Level; g) Making State Budgets Participatory and People-Centred; h) Taxation and Financing of the SDGs at the Subnational Level; i) Gender Responsive Budgeting; and j) Inequality in Nigeria.
Following the discussions and interactions, therefore, we the participants at the plenary adopt the following resolutions:
1. Subnational governments should, as a matter of urgency, work out strategies for improving service delivery by transforming its internal processes and providing exemplary leadership to the people.
2. We recognize that many subnational governments are already implementing many innovative governance reforms, for instance the Enugu State Visit Every Community (VEC) programme which is a needs assessment programme for giving voice to community development needs. However, there is the need to legitimize such frameworks by Acts of the Houses of Assembly in order to ensure sustainability.
3. Subnational governments in collaboration with communities and CSOs should evolve effective and institutionalized monitoring and evaluation frameworks/strategies for monitoring and/or evaluating the utilization of government resources. Subnational budgets should be made participatory, people-centred and gender-responsive (women, children, youth and the vulnerable).
4. Subnational governments should adopt best practices in promoting transparency and accountability in governance. Citizens and non-citizens need to demand that the budget and other fiscal documents be made open and posted at the public domain for easy monitoring and evaluation of projects and programmes. Governments should optimize the potentials of ICTs in this regard.
5. We encourage subnational governments to engage in intergovernmental collaboration, especially at the regional level, to provide a solid platform to overcome the current squeeze occasioned by sharp drop in revenue. Joint projects/programmes by subnational governments can be designed to scale up investments to cover more communities as well as ensuring increased benefits to the citizens.
6. Subnational governments should develop smart strategies for formalizing the informal sector, particularly the non-oil sector. Governments need to provide active support to both SMEs and large industries, especially in the area of value chain development, in order to improve revenue mobilization and fiscal independence.
7. Subnational governments should put systems and strategies in place to ensure that our taxes work for the people, especially the poor. This will act as an incentive against tax avoidance. We seek tax reforms that promote an ICT database system, fair representation, transparency and progressive tax laws, policies and practices (e.g. tax to service agreements) capable of addressing poverty and inequality. Lagos State leadership in this respect is highly recognized and recommended for other states.
8. Finally, we are grateful to the training workshop funders/organizers and presenters and the staff and management of the Nike Lake Resort Hotel for their wonderful hospitality.
Celestine Okwudili Odo
Programme Coordinator, Governance
Oxfam in Nigeria
Uche F. Nnadi
Senior Special Assistant to Enugu State Governor,
Domestic and Foreign Aid.