The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) organized capacity building session for Civil Society Organizations, Media and Legislators in Akure, Ondo State with the support from Oxfam Novib. The capacity building targeted at improving effectiveness of the extractive industry resource utilization, transfer capacity to CSOs, Legislators and Media to sharpen knowledge and competence in the demand for accountability and impact of petroleum resources funds; provide baseline information and public awareness in the current trend of petroleum resources disbursement using the NEITI FASD report. The sessions looked at process based; value based and professional based accountability and provide tools to enthrone a regime of transparency. It provided a roadmap to strengthen existing gaps. The meeting which had top State Government functionaries, CSOs and Media in attendance was largely participatory, interactive and informative. Participants expressed satisfaction at the content of the presentations and evidence based report presented that has ultimately sharpened advocacy skills.
• The total revenue accrued to the Federation between 2007-2011stood at over 30.09 trillion Naira with an annual budget of =N=3trillion bringing cumulative national expenditure to less than 50% of gross national earning and yet the country is running a depleted federation accounts with an increase in poverty index.
• The sovereign Wealth Fund remains the only instrument for strategic planning in the country and the leeway to rescue Nigeria from the heavy wastages and leakages that currently thrives in its natural resources revenue.
• Absence of adequate knowledge amongst Civil Societies, Media and Legislators in Ondo State on the NEITI Audit reports has weakened advocacy on the know-how to develop clear recommendations and strategies for government to engage in institutional strengthening by looking beyond oil and hold private sector accountable.
• Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement Audit (FASD) Report 2007 – 2011 asked informed and incisive questions that that can initiate debates, dialogue and public discourse on issues of transparency, accountability and good governance of Nigeria’s extractive industries resources with huge gaps on process and accountability issues.
• Inclusive governance and investment in capital projects in the South west has created a model for other regions due to adequate social resource allocations targeted at the people with consistency in performance and diversification of resources through its IGR.
• Weak Publish What You Pay Movement in Ondo State has disconnected citizens from Information Management system that can assist them from demanding accountability which was considered a panacea for an ineffective citizen partnership for good governance.
• Extractive remains on the exclusive list which makes it nearly impossible for states to look inward in term of reducing its over reliance on federal allocation and increase IGR as well as reduce borrowing.
• Government must reduce its expenditure profile; high costs of governance and put in place operational guideline for release of funds to prevent arbitrary releases and abuses of processes around the stabilization fund which was set up as palliative in times of economic difficulties to curb leakages and wastages.
• The Legislature must utilize the report to engage the executive at all level on the need to secure the future with the resources currently generated from extractive particularly, those states that benefits from the derivation funds as a means of saving for the future.
• Civil Society Organizations should strongly advocate for structural changes that will eliminate inequalities, poverty and even distribution of natural resources, generate and sustain debates on alternative strategies and models of national development based on the revenue base of the nation as disclosed in the audit reports.
• Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement Audit (FASD) Report should be released timely to allow erring public officers account for the period of stewardship with a call to the anti-graft agencies to utilize the reports as an M&E tool for enforcement.
• State Government in Nigeria and particularly the focal pilot state covered by the report should re-evaluate their revenue profile with an articulated and strategic plan to exploit their full internal economic potentials as well as develop recurrent and capital expenditure policies as an instrument to secure desired impact on the lives of citizens.
• Publish What You Pay Movement in the state must be activated as a platform to engage constructively to demand accountability, promote good governance and form partnership for development with all stakeholders.
• Federal Government should empower the states by placing solid mineral extraction on the concurrent list to allow State government the opportunity to expand internally Generated Revenue for a more sustainable development.
Participants thanked CISLAC with the support from Oxfam Novib for providing the platform for such constructive engagement. The process was acclaimed to very incisive, participatory and engaging. The resolve to activate the Publish What You Pay Movement became even more convincing that the state has the willingness to utilize the information and get government to diversify in its revenue. It was noted that projects are often at its peak in the years preceding elections an example of Ondo recording 78% of capital expenditure in 2010 and nose-dived to 38% in 2011, this trend is disturbing and raises lots of suspicion.
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
Daily Trust Newspaper
Akure, Ondo State
Director of Budget
Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget
Akure, Ondo State