BY Busola Aro
Anamekwe Nwabuoku, acting accountant-general of the federation (AGF), says Nigeria is borrowing money to pay salaries.
Nwabuoku said this on Tuesday at a retreat organised by the office of the AGF for members of the technical sub-committee on cash management (TSCM) in Abuja.
Nwabuoku said there is an increase in government expenditure due to rising security challenges and the social needs of the citizenry.
“We have to borrow to augment payment of salaries and wages. This shows we are in very difficult times. Government income is highly challenged,” Nwabuoku said.
“The theme and objective of the retreat couldn’t have been better captioned, given the fiscal challenges at the moment. Records available indicate that due to dwindling revenues, the treasury had to resort to other sources to augment the payment of federal government public servants.
“There is an increase in government expenditure due to increasing security challenges and social needs of the citizenry.”
The acting AGF advised that there should be deliberate efforts to revert the trend through fiscal discipline, economic diversification, export sector promotion and plunging revenue leakages, among others, to ensure revenue inflow.
“Now that these challenges stare us in the face, you are all expected at this gathering to come out with ideas that will push us through,” he added.
“Therefore, we must all, at this retreat, strive towards identifying the challenges to revenue generation and other means of enhancing inflow into federal government cash box; ensuring the cutting down the cost of governance in the most acceptable way and ensuring synergy amongst and within stakeholders in the sub-committee.”
Speaking further, the acting AGF lauded the effort of Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning, for her consistent support in improving members’ capabilities.
On his part, Sabo Mohammed, director of funds, OAGF, said a deeper fiscal discipline requires that government should avoid excessive borrowings.
“It warrants avoiding excessive borrowing and debt accumulation. It’s expected that discussions at this forum will help in improving the capacities of members and stakeholders and getting them more acquainted with Nigeria’s fiscal challenges and advance recovery strategies that will enable effective management and avoid fiscal deficits,” he said.
“Fiscal deficits often indicate a variety of adverse domestic and external shocks that affect budgets directly as well as through their impact on the economic environment. Indebtedness, over the past years, calls for concerns.”