Watch Your Debt Profiles, Pay Teachers, Pensioners, Others Okonjo-Iweala Warns Governors

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Director General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, has urged governors to even as they invest in infrastructure, education and basic healthcare, to endeavour to pay teachers, healthcare workers and pensioners.

She also urged them to figure out ways to increase internally generated revenue (IGR), saying this should go hand in hand with their share of the federal allocation, which she said is substantial, more transparently, efficiently and effectively.

She made the call at the opening of the 2023 induction for Re-elected and elected governors with the theme: Governing for Impact (Building Sub-national Governance), organised by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).

Okonjo-Iweala, a former finance minister under the Obasanjo’s administration and former Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, under the Jonathan’s administration, urged states to publish federation revenue allocation and IGI that accrue to them to earn citizens trust and keep them abreast of their finances.

She said: “We used to publish this information during my time as finance minister under President Obasanjo and Jonathan’s administrations, uou must resume this practice so your citizens can have information to your account.”
She added, “Your Excellencies, Please watch your debt profiles and keep careful control of expenditure. Even as we invest in infrastructure, education and basic healthcare, please endeavour to pay teachers, healthcare workers.”
Okonjo-Iweala, stressed that states have a substantial responsibility, noting that only few states are raising internally generated revenue of any significance.

Quoting from an analysis of data from the National Bureau of Statistics, and state audited financial statements by the Budgit, which provides in-depth financial reports on country budgets helping citizens understand where their country’s money goes, 33 states relied on federal transfers for the majority of their revenue, for 13 of those states, the monthly impact allocations accounted for about 70% of revenue.

She said aggregated IGR from the the states did rise from N1.2 trillion in 2020 to N1.6 1 trillion in 2021. But this pales in comparison to FAAC allocations to state of N2.23 trillion in 2020 and 3.16 trillion in 2020.

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