USAID partners state govts. on management of loans

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By Cecilia Ijuo

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Accountability, Transparency and Effectiveness (State2State) project is partnering state governments on proper use of loans.

Mr John Onyeukwu, the Deputy Chief of Party of State2State project, spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of a four-day workshop on “Public Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility’’ on Wednesday in Abuja.

Onyeukwu said it was wise for countries, particularly Nigeria, to channel borrowings and other resources into health, education and social protection.

He said that it was important to work toward stronger institutions for proper management of loans.

According to him, when loans are properly channelled, they  will remove a lot of people from poverty.

“In furtherance of our work on six target states of Adamawa, Akwa lbom, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Gombe and Sokoto states, we are supporting them on developing strategy for managing public debts, medium term strategy and fiscal responsibility framework.

“The primary interest of our project is primary health, education and WASH and the success of our activity is tied to improvement in those sectors.

“For instance, education is a game changer. When people do not go to school or they leave school and there is no job and there is no social protection, it will be a huge problem.

“That is why states need to manage their resources better and create jobs.

“This workshop is to further train them so that every month and every quarter, they are able to keep good record of their debts,’’ Onyeukwu said.

He said with Nigeria was already spending so much of its revenue on debt servicing, adding that proper resource management was critical.

Onyeukwu said trainings had been organised on how the states could increase their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

“The only other way for most governments to be able to reduce social challenges of development is by borrowing.

“As citizens, we may not have the final say if the legislature approves a loan but we hold them accountable for the loan that has been collected and every debt that the states gets into.

“So, that is what State2State is helping states to do as a public finance management activity.’’

Onyeukwu said as part of efforts to achieve result, the State2State was working with the Governors Forum to ensure state governments budgets came through a new national framework called New Charts of Accounts.

He said that this was to ensure more details in the content of budgets, adding that plans were being concluded on an audit training to provide support specific to auditing.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the State2State project is a five year project meant to run from 2020 to 2025.

The project is being executed in six focal states of Adamawa, Sokoto, Ebonyi, Bauchi, Akwa Ibom and Gombe.

It is aimed at helping them to manage accountable financial in systems for quality service in basic education, primary healthcare, WASH, among other sectors.(NAN)