Vice President Kashim Shettima says the report by BudgIT Foundation Nigeria, renowned for its expertise in budget tracking and transparency advocacy, will set a new standard in responsibility and accountability for the country’s public finance.
Shettima, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Economic Affairs, Dr Tope Fasua made this known at the BudgIT 2023 State of States report launch with the theme” Subnational Healthcare Delivery for Improved Economic Development”.
It was reported that the state of states is an annual comparative assessment of the fiscal performance and position of the 36 states of the federation.
The first edition of the State of States research was conducted in 2017, and there have been four other editions after that.
Shettima highlighted the importance of gradual societal change and acknowledged the BudgIT Foundation as a catalytic institution in driving development.
“The focus of the 2023 event is on healthcare, with the understanding that good health is essential for economic growth.
He emphasised that without a healthy society, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), cannot thrive.
While applauding the Budget Foundation’s efforts in drilling down to the state level, he also expressed the need to pay attention to local governments, particularly in rural areas.
“Many of these areas have been neglected, and the potential for economic growth lies within them,” he said.
He suggested that future initiatives should focus on these local areas and assess their progress alongside their states.
He raised concerns over the efficiency of healthcare spending.
While the African Union may have recommended a certain percentage of the budget to be allocated to healthcare, the vice president, said the importance of ensuring that the funds were used effectively.
“Abandoned primary healthcare centres were cited as an example of inefficiency in spending, particularly in rural areas where there is a lack of healthcare providers,” he said.
He assured that the data and decisions presented in the BudgIT Foundation report, State of State 2023, would be taken into account and incorporated into the government’s plans.
Giving the State of States Report presentation, the BudgIT head of Research and Policy Advisory, Mr Iniobong Usen, said that states’ reliance on transfers from the Federal Government increased from 58.4 per cent in 2021 to 61.45 per cent in 2022.
Usen said that at least 70 per cent of the total revenue of 16 states comprised federal transfers, while 32 states depended on transfers from the federal government for at least 50 per cent of their revenue.
He said that the cumulative revenue of the 36 states grew by 28.95 per cent from N5.12tn in 2021 to N6.6tn in 2022.
“The IGR of the 36 states appreciated by 12.98 per cent from N1.61tn in 2021 to N1.82tn in 2022, denoting a strengthened domestic revenue mobilization capability.
“The IGR to GDP ratio remained very low at 1.01 per cent. The increase in IGR did not reflect across the board as 17 states experienced a decline in their IGR from the previous year while 19 states recorded positive growth,” he explained.
Speaking on the under-five mortality rate, he said that the southwest of the country recorded the lowest figures at 48 deaths per 1,000 live births while the northwest has the worst regional record with 158 deaths per 1,000 live births.
According to him, Across the country, Lagos has the lowest numbers while Sokoto had the worst.
“One in every 10 children in Nigeria does not make it to their 5th birthday, while one in every seven children born in the Northwest does not make it to their 5th birthday,”.
The Country Director, Mr Gabriel Okeowo, said that the 2023 State of States edition spotlights how subnationals prioritise investments in human capital development and the sustainability of the borrowings of the States.
Okeowo said that the state states report was a comparative assessment of the fiscal performance and position of the 36 states of the federation.
He said that the report looked at how States can finance their budgets with revenues generated internally, viz-a-vis their dependence on the Federal Allocation.