For the country to translate its substantial oil wealth into equitable economic benefits for citizens, the Federal Government needs to reform its public finance management.
This was the position of stakeholders in a communiqué issued at a roundtable meeting on Savings and Stabilisation Mechanism For Nigeria, organised by the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation in Port Harcourt.
According to them, despite earning over $1trn from oil since 1970, there are more Nigerians living in poverty than any other country in the world.
The communiqué said: “According to the Brookings Institute, approximately 83.6m people in Nigeria (estimated 43 per cent) live in extreme poverty.
“The Oil Revenue Tracking Initiative of the Yar’Adua Foundation convened civil society organisations, community groups and media in the Southsouth region to provide information regarding the need for effective fiscal and oil governance frameworks and encourage them to demand accountability.”
At the meeting, experts on petroleum and energy economics, public policy and media analysts, shared their wealth of experience and made recommendations towards the establishment of a savings and stabilisation mechanism for the country.
The presentations highlighted challenges to sustainable development, including poor infrastructural development, lack of institution building, non-existence of human and capital development, insignificant savings, low contribution of oil revenue to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and poor standard of living.
They recommended that government should follow due process in management of the ECA, in line with demands from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the Fiscal Responsibility Commission.