The federal government is working towards submitting the 2020 appropriation bill to the National Assembly by the end of this month, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said.
The minister who spoke at a roundtable on National Donor Coordination in Abuja on Wednesday also highlighted 11 economic priority areas by the Buhari administration.
The minister said the 2020 budget preparation process has since begun, with the submission of plans in advance.
To ensure the donor programmes aligned with the government’s strategic priorities in the 2020 national budget, Mrs Ahmed said meetings are scheduled in the next few days ”to acquaint the agencies with ongoing and planned programmes”.
At the end of the consultative meetings, she said a set of guidelines will be provided to support agencies’ submission of the short to medium term plans, broken down annually.
“This process will ensure the government considers ongoing and planned aid interventions when making its 2020 budgetary allocations reflected in the Appropriation Bill,” the minister said.
On the 11 economic priority areas, the minister said the economic and governance reforms will focus on macroeconomic stability ”through coordinated economic, monetary, fiscal and trade policies, fight against corruption and improved governance”.
The other areas are enhanced investments in physical infrastructure, human capital development to spur job creation and economic growth, improved health, education and productivity for Nigerians.
She said the outline includes ensuring energy sufficiency with power and petroleum products; improved transportation and other infrastructure as well as driving industrialisation, focusing on macro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
The minister also identified improved security for all citizens; enhanced agriculture self-sufficiency to achieve food security; enhanced social inclusion by scaling-up social investments and improved access to mass housing and consumer credit to enhance financial inclusion as key projects.
The minister called for a well-structured approach towards external financing to maximise the benefit of a government-driven national donor coordination mechanism to Nigerians.
She said the government is considering a National Donor Coordination Mechanism that aligns with the government’s key strategic priority areas in the national plans, policies and annual budgets.
Although the mechanism will be government-led, its process must be collaborative to succeed.
Mrs Ahmed said government set up a Donor Coordination Unit (DCU) to be chaired by her, with the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning as co-chair.
“We will task the DCU to develop a road map toward setting up a Multi-Donor Trust Fund, to be managed by the World Bank, which will pool donor funds to enhance transparency and accountability,” she said.
“Aid is most effective when it is well-coordinated, with mutual accountability mechanisms for government and donors,” she added.
The government, she said, has made some progress in coordinating aid in specific areas, such as in the North-east intervention, and the Social Investment Programmes.
She highlighted key criteria to ensure the success of multi-donor funds.
These include government-owned and driven aid management process and the establishment of a mutual accountability framework to ensure effective management of aid programmes/projects and resources.
Others include information sharing; ability to map donor interventions and ensuring appropriate coverage across sectors, ”with an emphasis on sectors critical to achieving Nigeria’s key development priorities”.
She said the government will develop and implement the next generation of National Economic Plans, the successor to the Economic Recovery Growth (ERGP).
The meeting was attended by the Ambassadors of Japan, Denmark and Norway, represented by the Chargé d’affaires; Korea was represented by the Country Director, KOICA, while the U.S. Ambassador was represented by the Chargé d’affaires.
Also at the meeting were the UN Resident Coordinator, who was represented by the Resident Representative; United Nations Development Programme; African Development Bank Country Director; International Monetary Fund Mission Chief; World Bank Country Director; United Nations International Children Education Fund Country Representative and others.