Adeosun, Finance Commissioners Meet Today on Fresh Bailout to States – Thisday

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Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, will tuesday meet with the 36 commissioners of finance to finalise discussions on a fresh bailout to their cash-strapped states.

THISDAY gathered that the meeting, which comes up at the minister’s conference room at 2pm, will provide the commissioners an opportunity to explain how their respective states expended the first bailout from the federal government.

The new bailout is coming after the states agreed to reform their finances as well as those of the local councils under a Fiscal Sustainability Programme (FSP) packaged by the federal government.

The 22-point fiscal reform action plan to be implemented by the states under the FSP mirrors the ongoing public financial management transformation being undertaken by the federal government, including biometric capture of all civil servants, the establishment of an Efficiency Unit, implementation of Continuous Audit, improvement in Independently Generated Revenue (IGR) and measures to achieve sustainable reforms. These were unanimously agreed to by the state governors during the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, which was held last Thursday.

The FSP highlights five key strategic objectives, followed by 22 recommended action points, with a view to achieving objectives around improved fiscal behaviour that will align both short-term and long-term sustainability objectives of the federal and state governments.

Starting from this year, all state governments are expected to abide by the FSP’s strategic objectives around the five key elements of Accountability & Transparency, Increase in Public Revenue, Rationalisation of Public Expenditure, Public Financial Management Reforms, and Sustainable Debt Management.

The federal government is developing a financial support structure, which will be directly tied to the attainment of agreed fiscal reform milestones.

The ultimate objective of the FSP is to ensure that states are set on the path of fiscal sustainability.

Under the FSP, states are therefore required to publish audited annual financial statements within six months of financial year end.

There will also be an introduction and compliance with the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).

States will equally publish their annual budgets online as well as publish budget implementation performance report online quarterly effective from March 2017.

A standard IPSAS compliant software will be deployed for use by all the states and local governments.