Abuja — The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has called for more technical and institutional support for West African countries from the Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center West 2 (AFRITAC West 2).
Adeosun made the call while declaring open the sixth Steering Committee meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)-AFRITAC West 2 in Abuja.
The meeting was attended by the Senior Resident Representative of the IMF in Nigeria, Mr. Amine Mati; AFRITAC West 2 Coordinator, Mr. Oral Williams; Director-General of Budget Office, Mr. Ben Akabueze, and Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Babatunde Fowler.
Delegates from Ghana, Cape Verde, Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Nigeria also attended the Steering Committee meeting.
The minister stated that the provision of more technical and institutional support for West African countries would impact significantly on the capacity development within the region, a statement issued by her media aide, Mr. Oluyinka Akintunde, said.
She stated: "The ability to mobilise resources and build institutions with the capabilities to allocate them effectively, is the foundation of a strong economic management engine.
"The transfer of these technical capabilities and emergence of stronger institutions will increase the economic resilience of member-countries.
"These countries will have the technical capability to successfully and independent manage their economies to effectively deliver on critical development imperatives," the minister stated.
Adeosun assured that the Nigerian government was committed to the diversification of the economy from over reliance on oil, adding that the economy would be shielded from the negative effects of dependence on a singular resource.
The government, she disclosed, was mobilising domestic revenue through taxes to improve the economy and foster economic development.
"AFRITAC has supported this effort by conducting the Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool which provided Nigeria (and other member-countries that have successfully completed it) with an objective assessment of key components of our tax system.
"We see this work as critical to Nigeria's future development, and would support its continued implementation," she said.
Adeosun urged member-countries of the West African region to collaborate with AFRITAC to strengthen country ownership of the various capacity development interventions.
The Coordinator of AFRITAC, Mr. Oral Williams, disclosed that the Center had executed 150 capacity development activities across member-countries.
He added that the Center had designed the work programme for the next fiscal year with the aim of delivering quantifiable results.
In another development, Adeosun yesterday inaugurated Nigerian Sustainable Finance Principle Committee (NSFPC) in Abuja, a committee which seeks to ensure that financial services are rendered in such ways and manners that protect the environment from externalities that may eventually undermine social comfort and convenience.
The minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Dr Mahmoud Dutse, stated that the Nigerian Sustainable Finance Principle Committee (NSFPC) is a creation of the Financial Services Regulation Coordinating Committee (FSRCC) which focuses on the role of the financial services industry in facilitating economic prosperity, while ensuring environmental sustainability and social development.
According to her, "Pursuant to be efforts of the present government of diversifying the economy with the aim of enhancing growth and global competitiveness it has become imperative to saddle this committee with stimulating a resilient, competitive and sustainable financial services, improving corporate governance practices, nurturing people friendly environments in the drive towards job creation, empowerment, poverty reduction and ensuring that all financial services contribute to efforts aimed at reducing global warming and other forms of environmental degradation."
She added that the NSFPC initiative which is predicted on the need to vigorously pursue economic prosperity and social development without compromising environmental protection, is built on the these principles; environmental, social and governance principle, collaborative partnership and capacity building, financing of priority sectors of the economy, human rights, women economic development, financial inclusion, reporting and disclosure.
Adeosun implored the committee and agencies operating within the financial sector to take innovative and pragmatic steps to facilitate, encourage and support activities which would impact the nation economically, environmentally and socially, as well as ensure that their services have the capacity to improve the integrity of the natural environment.
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Dr Mahmoud Dutse, in his welcome address presented by the Director of Home Finance, Mrs. Olubunmi Siyanbola, stated that the Ministry's NSFPC will ensure that the ministry takes and retains the drivers seat in the Nigerian Sustainability Finance Project, creation and entrenchment of the sustainability orientation/mindset in the Industry stakeholders and de-mystification of the concept of sustainability finance by encouraging organizations that deal with the ministry to ensure that their activities conform with the sustainable, meaningful, adaptable, responsible and trustworthy principles of sustainable finance.
Mahmoud assured the committee of their management's support as they strive to achieve their mandate.
The Director of Home Finance, Siyanbola, who is also the NSFPC Chairman said the newly inaugurated committee is the building block for emergency formidable initiative of the ministry and assured that the committee would sacrifice their time, talent and pleasure to achieve the mandate of the committee.