To close the gap in the allocation and disbursement of extractive revenues and ensure visible development and better the lives of host communities in Nigeria, the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) says it has commenced advocacy on efforts to address the issue in subnational transfers.
The Accra-based group said in Abuja at a stakeholders’ dialogue towards proffering solutions to the challenges that it was collaborating with the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and Ziva Community Initiative on the Advocacy.
ACEP Executive Director, Benjamin Boakye, said at the event that the current realities necessitated the urgent need to cause the change we all want to see, particularly with the effective utilisation of extractive revenues for the benefit of the people.
Boakye noted that Africa and Nigeria were blessed with resources others were craving for, adding that this called for all to work together to make the resources a blessing to the people rather than a curse.
“Time is not on our side anymore. We must be more efficient in how we use our resources . We must make every Naira and Dollar count for something. We must continue to engage to optimise our resources and let the benefits to communities count, while advancing the development of our countries, by optimising revenue from our resources,” Boakye said.
“We do understand that in the Nigerian context, there are allocations that go to communities and States for the benefit of the people, such as the 13% derivation fund. We have observed that even though there is that allocation, complaints on the ground shows that the resources could be better utilised,” he added.
Boakye explained that findings showed that leadership was key in optimising the utilisation of allocations to States, adding that governors must begin to decentralise power to the local administration in order for the revenue to trickle down for the development of communities.
He said further meetings would be held with some governors and leaders to think through how to optimise benefits to communities.
“We have planned a series of stakeholder engagements on how to improve the architecture of the revenue disbursement for the benefit of the people. We are more interested in the result. We will work with our partners and community leaders to ensure the conversation yields results,” he said.
In his lead presentation, an energy industry expert, Tim Okon, concluded that the institutional development and organisational strengthening rested at the heart of improving the governance framework in Nigeria.
Okon who blamed state capture for the failure of the 13% derivation fund to translate to meaningful development of communities in the Niger Delta, maintained that rules setting was important.
To remove opacity, affirm processes and procedures, he stressed the need to include consequence management in the governance framework.
“There is considerable consensus around the decline in institutional values and a weak justice system,” he said.
While positing that States needed a constitution where rules could be set, he emphasised that many states in Nigeria nonetheless, needed simple rules to save the country from economic collapse.
In the absence of a constitution however, Okon stressed the need for States to adopt rules such as the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, to save Nigeria from multi-dimensional poverty.