Vice President Kashim Shettima has lauded the BudgIT Foundation Nigeria for its exemplary work in budget tracking and advocating transparency, stating that their report will establish a new benchmark for responsibility and accountability in the country’s public finance.
Shettima, represented by his Special Adviser on Economic Affairs, Dr. Tope Fasua, made these remarks during the launch of BudgIT’s 2023 State of States report, themed “Subnational Healthcare Delivery for Improved Economic Development.”
The State of States report is an annual evaluation of the fiscal performance and position of the 36 states in the federation. The inaugural edition of this research took place in 2017, followed by four subsequent editions.
Shettima emphasised the importance of gradual societal change and acknowledged the pivotal role played by the BudgIT Foundation in driving development as a catalytic institution.
The 2023 event had a particular focus on healthcare, as Shettima highlighted that good health is a fundamental catalyst for economic growth, underlining the inextricable link between a healthy populace and a thriving Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
While praising BudgIT’s efforts to scrutinise state-level data, Shettima also stressed the need to pay attention to local governments, especially those in rural areas that have often been neglected.
He suggested that forthcoming initiatives should prioritise these local areas, monitoring their progress alongside their respective states.
Shettima voiced concerns about the efficiency of healthcare spending, advocating for the effective utilisation of allocated funds. He highlighted the problem of abandoned primary healthcare centres, particularly in rural areas where healthcare providers are scarce.
He assured that the data and insights presented in the BudgIT Foundation’s 2023 State of States report would be thoughtfully incorporated into government plans.
Presenting the State of States Report, BudgIT’s Head of Research and Policy Advisory, Mr. Iniobong Usen, noted that states’ reliance on transfers from the Federal Government had increased from 58.4 per cent in 2021 to 61.45 per cent in 2022. He revealed that at least 70 per cent of the total revenue of 16 states consisted of federal transfers and 32 states relied on federal transfers for at least 50 per cent of their revenue.
Usen reported that the cumulative revenue of the 36 states increased by 28.95 per cent from N5.12 trillion in 2021 to N6.6 trillion in 2022. Although internal generated revenue (IGR) saw an increase of 12.98 per cent, reaching N1.82 trillion, the IGR-to-GDP ratio remained low at 1.01 per cent. The IGR growth varied among states, with 17 states experiencing a decline while 19 states recorded positive growth.
Addressing the under-five mortality rate, Usen noted regional disparities. The southwest recorded the lowest rate at 48 deaths per 1,000 live births, while the northwest had the highest regional rate at 158 deaths per 1,000 live births. Lagos had the lowest numbers, while Sokoto had the highest.
The Country Director of BudgIT, Mr. Gabriel Okeowo, highlighted that the 2023 State of States edition particularly focuses on subnationals’ investments in human capital development and the sustainability of states’ borrowings. He emphasised that the report provides a comparative assessment of the fiscal performance and position of all 36 states in the federation, examining their capacity to finance their budgets through internal revenue generation versus their reliance on federal allocations.