States governments in Nigeria have been advised to collaborate especially at the regional level so as to achieve some joint developmental objectives.
Participants at a two-day training for Ministries, Departments and Agencies from Enugu, Delta, Lagos and Rivers States on resource mobilisation organised by the Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group in Enugu made this call through the communique issued at the of the program.
According to the communique, state governments were further urged to ensure that taxes are used judiciously for the benefits of the people, especially the poor.
They encouraged governments sub-national governments to engage in inter-governmental collaboration, especially at the regional level, to provide a solid platform to overcome the current squeeze occasioned by sharp drop in revenue.
“Joint projects/programs by sub-national governments can be designed to scale up investments to cover more communities as well as ensuring increased benefits to the citizens.
“Sub-national governments should develop smart strategies for formalising the informal sector, particularly the non-oil sector. Governments need to provide active support to both SMEs and large industries, especially in the area of value chain development, in order to improve revenue mobilisation and fiscal independence.
“Sub-national governments should put systems and strategies in place to ensure that our taxes work for the people, especially the poor.This will act as an incentive against tax avoidance. We seek tax reforms that promote an ICT database system, fair representation, transparency and progressive tax laws, policies and practices” they stated.
Participants at the forum while commending the Lagos State government said their leadership in tax matters is highly recognised and recommended for other states.
The training which had 106 participants attracted stakeholders under the Oxfam Financing for Development (F4D) Strategic Partnership, Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Oxfam Partners including Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group, Actionaid, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, KEBETKACHE Women Development and Resource Centre, and BudgIT under the Oxfam F4D Implementing states of Enugu, Rivers, Delta, and Lagos as well as the FCT, Abuja.
State governments were also tasked on the need to adopt best practices in promoting transparency and accountability in governance.
The forum further advocated that citizens and non-citizens need to demand that the budget and other fiscal documents be made open and posted at the public domain for easy monitoring and evaluation of projects and programmes.