Public Accountability: World Bank, EU train Delta Legislators on PFM reforms
By Jimmy Lace
Given the import of public accountability in relation to resource generation, allocation and expenditure management in government for efficient delivery of public goods and services, the need for Public Financial Management Reform has been stressed.
This came to the fore at the weekend in Asaba, the Delta State capital during a one-day training workshop on the Principles and Framework of Public Financial Management Reforms organized by the Delta State government in partnership with the World Bank and European Union (EU) for members of the State House of Assembly.
The Workshop with the theme, “Public Financial Management Reforms: The Delta State Perspective”. was organized under the umbrella of the World Bank and EU sponsored State Employment and Expenditures For Results (SEEFOR) project in the state .
Declaring the Workshop open, the State Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr Kingsley Emu while describing the workshop as apt and timely, given the current economic challenge in the country, said that it would help in ensuring that both the executive and legislative arms of government in the state were on the same page in terms of public financial management.
This, Emu stated would also help to engender robust and realistic financial planning as well as enhance strict discipline in budgeting which he posited has been the hallmark of the current administration in the state.
“The main import of this sensitization workshop is for both the executive and the legislature to be on the same page particularly as it relates to public financial management. As you already know, public financial management is everybody’s business. In the history of this country, there is never a time anybody wishes a reform, but this is the time.
“This is a period of strong fiscal challenge, so, all we can do is not to over blow the budget, rather, we should be specific on what we want to do and there must be strict discipline in budgeting. What this clearly means is that today, in a recession, all we need to do is to plan as planning is the only option that can help us manage the recession.
“That is why we are happy that the state government decided to draw from the SEEFOR fund to develop not just job creation, environmental cleaning, technical and vocational education, but other economic developments. Therefore, it is evident that we should begin to make reforms in procurement, audits and budget as well as engage ourselves in enlightening the people” Emu stated.
On his part, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, while lauding the state government, the World Bank and EU for organizing the workshop which he described as critical at this particular material time of the nation’s economy, said the lawmakers would take the outcome of the workshop seriously
He said that the State House of Assembly is irrevocably committed to events and programmes that are geared towards the overall economic developments of the state, adding that the state legislature believes strongly in the World Bank and EU sponsored SEEFOR projects.
“As a vibrant House, we believe in reforms and that is why we are ready to key into this sensitization workshop as it is in tandem with the State Government SMART agenda” the speaker reiterated.
Earlier in his address of welcome, the Project Coordinator of the State SEEFOR project, Mr. Benson Ojoko said that the workshop was made possible given the importance the State Lawmakers’ place on issues that will impact positively on the social-economic index of the state, just as he added that the workshop would help in keeping the legislators abreast of the public financial management components of the SEEFOR Projects in the state.