Forum sessions engage managers of fiscal federalism in every region of Nigeria

The Chairman of Nigeria’s Revenue mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Eng. Hamman Adama Tukur, opens one day Forum training event.

The Forum of Federations held eight outreach sessions recently for 250 stakeholders in Nigeria to dialogue on policies for fiscal federalism. The Forum also held a five-day retreat for Nigerian specialists in fiscal federalism. These events were components of the Forum’s Support for Fiscal Federalism Project, supported by the UK Department for International Development.

This project seeks to enhance the understanding of fiscal federalism issues among a cross section of key stakeholders, making linkages between fiscal federalism and key issues such as service delivery, accountability, and better management of federal relations generally.

The one-day sessions provided an opportunity for dialogue among government officials, academia, journalists and other practitioners. The participants came from across the country. Four one-day sessions were held in Abuja for the Northern states of the country and federal institutions in the federal capital territory. Two sessions were held in Enugu for those in the South-East and the South-South states; the two sessions in Lagos for the participants in the South-West.

In opening the first of these sessions in Abuja, the Chairman of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Eng. Hamman Adama Tukur, called the outreach session an event that will aid the practice of fiscal federalism in Nigeria. He underscored the need to promote knowledge on the subject and the urgency of improving the capacity of key decision makers. Participants thanked the Forum of Federations for putting the event together and asked for more such trainings, especially at the state level.

In Enugu, South-East Nigeria, the Secretary to the Government of Enugu State noted that fiscal federalism is at the core of the problems facing Nigeria and urged the Forum to continue the dialogue, training and awareness raising in order to aid the development of sound policies in area of fiscal federalism in Nigeria The five-day retreat in Abuja was held from Nov. 9-13, bringing together about 30 experts on fiscal federalism from each of Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones.

The retreat provided for intense deliberations and training on the foundations of fiscal federalism, as well as at the opportunity for initiating a network of experts on Fiscal Federalism to bolster the quality of policy and intergovernmental co-operation on fiscal federalism in Nigeria. Participants in the event discussed the challenges facing fiscal federalism in Nigeria and prepared a framework for the development of a specific one-year plan and a broader five-year plan for the network. Fiscal experts Dr. Juan Antonio Zapata of Argentina, Chinedu Nwoko of Nigeria and Dr A. N. Alok of India worked with the Forum in training participants and facilitating discussions. In addressing the participants at the retreat, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service best summed up the mood among participants in saying that "dialogue is the only way to resolve the challenges facing Nigeria fiscal federalism practice. And good dialogue can only come with quality information.”

The outreach sessions and the retreat on fiscal federalism were held between October 26 and November 13, 2009.

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