GIFT: CSOs decry Nigeria’s huge debt, deepen advocacy for fiscal reforms 

Op-ed EditorSeptember 20, 20233 min

The Growth Initiatives for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) notes that the huge public debt profile has been encouraged by a weak revenue mobilisation, poor remittance culture, and corruption in public expenditure.

 

 

 

 

A group of civil society organisations (CSOs) has decried Nigeria’s public debt profile of N87 trillion, describing it as unsustainable and a clarion call to reform the public finance management system.

Led by OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative, the group, operating under the aegis of the Growth Initiatives for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) and with support from the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) funded by USAID, called on the federal and state governments to institute urgent measures to cut waste, inefficiencies and corruption to save the country from collapse. 

A statement by Regina Udo, Project Manager of GIFT, announced that the CSOs will focus energies on engaging the 10th National Assembly to see to the passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007 (Amendment) Bill as a strong measure to bring sanity to the fiscal space.

While noting that the huge public debt profile has been encouraged by a weak revenue mobilisation, poor remittance culture, and corruption in public expenditure, the statement said citizens and stakeholders across public, private and non-governmental sectors will be mobilised to address the failing fiscal health of the nation.

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The GIFT Project, the group further noted, will also advocate for implementing the FRA 2007 Act at the national and sub-national levels, especially as it relates to debt management and revenue remittances to government coffers, “building on some of the gains recorded in the first year of implementation which included providing technical support on public projects monitoring and evaluation through the ConsTrack civic technology tool built and deployed by OrderPaper.” 

To achieve the advocacy goal of entrenching fiscal responsibility in the public sphere, the GIFT project would be implementing several activities which are designed to impact change by working with national assembly to ensure passage of the FRA amendment bill and enforce extant provisions relating to debt and borrowing by the states and federal governments,” the statement read.

“We would also embark on intensive citizen engagement activities to sensitise the general public on the need to demand transparency and accountability from the government, especially as regards revenue generation and public expenditure because by doing so, we can collectively address the rampaging effects of waste and corruption in public finance.

It beggars belief that Nigeria parades a public debt of over N87 trillion consisting of local and foreign loans incurred by the federal and state governments, according to latest figures released by the Debt Management Office (DMO). And if something urgent is not done, the future will only become gloomier and generations to come will come down heavily on today’s actors, cheerleaders and bystanders alike,” it added.

The CSOs implementing the GIFT project alongside OrderPaper are the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), HipCity Innovation Centre, CLICE Foundation, and AdvoKC.

 

Op-ed Editor

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