By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris (AGF) has called on managers of the country’s economy, economic experts and critical stakeholders in the country’s economy to come up with strategies and practices that could be deployed in the effective management of inevitable financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Idris made the call at a two-day National Treasury Workshop, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State with theme, “COVID-19 and the global economy, implications on the Nigerian national treasury”.
The workshop was meant to provide a forum for economic experts, officials of the Federal and State Governments, the academia and the private sector to brainstorm and come up with effective strategies for managing national economies in the face of pandemics and other global disasters.
The AGF maintained that the reality of the pains inflicted on the Nigerian economy and the national treasury by the COVID-19 pandemic has made it overtly imperative to fashion out ways to effectively manage the economy during pandemics and handle any pandemic-induced financial challenges.
He tasked the economic experts and government officials to come up with viable ideas that will, among other things, help the country withstand financial shock caused by any pandemic and also help control aggregate cash flows within fiscal, monetary and legal limits to improve the management of critical government borrowings.
Furthermore, he said ideas should be evolved that will help establish and sustain the consciousness of and accountability for public expenditure, efficient budget execution and resource allocation as well as effective public service delivery that accords value for money at all times.
In his address at the Workshop, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba noted that the dwindling revenue profile of the country and the attendant challenges on the cash flow occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic called for prudent management of available resources and evolution of better, more effective and robust administrative mechanisms to resolve the revenue challenges.
He made known that in an effort to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, prevent potentially deep recession and accelerate quick recovery of the economy, the Federal Government had developed three broad strategies namely, provision of economic stimulus packages, mobilisation of external support/funding and increased the Non-Oil revenue generation.
He said as a result of these measures adopted by the government, health and economic data have continued to be on the positive trajectory despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also speaking, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel commended the initiative of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation in organising a workshop to look into ways and means of repositioning the Nigerian economy in a post COVID-19 era.
The Governor who was represented by his deputy, Mr Moses Ekpo, expressed optimism that the workshop will come up with ideas and approaches to stimulate and grow the Nigerian economy in a new world put forth by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fourth National Treasury Workshop, earlier scheduled to take place from Monday 18th to Wednesday 20th January 2021 was put off due to the rise in the COVID-19 cases as announced by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19.