Abia State to Revise its 2020 Budget Using PERL’s Government Revenue Estimation and Allocation Tool
The Abia State Government is set to revise its 2020 Budget using the Government Revenue Estimation and Allocation Tool (GREAT), an excel based tool designed by the PERL Programme to help governments scientifically forecast their revenues more accurately; and allocate expenditures in a way that supports the achievement of government’s strategic objectives. The Government will not only use this tool to make the revised budget more realistic and achievable, it also plans to deepen its participatory budgeting practice by working with the citizens of Abia State in deciding the projects and programmes that will be included in the revised budget.
These were the key decisions reached at the end of an online interactive session where PERL provided technical advice and guidance to an ongoing process - led by the Abia State Economic Planning Commission - to revise the State’s 2020 budget.
Just like other states in Nigeria, Abia State is currently revising its 2020 budget to reflect declining revenues and changing priorities thrust upon states as a result of the economic and social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This swift and determined resolve to review the budget is further incentivized by the possibility of the state qualifying for and receiving a grant for doing so under the World Bank funded State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Responsiveness (SFTAS) Programme. In the locations where it operates, PERL has been providing short term consultancy advice, tools and guidelines to enable states in these locations to achieve the Disbursement Linked Results (DLRs) which have to be delivered for a state to qualify for grants under the SFTAS Programme. Recently, however, PERL’s support and influence has taken on a national scope as the Programme is increasingly channelling technical advice and guidance through institutions and platforms, such as the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the Community of Practice for Commissioners of Budget and Planning, which have a national reach.
At the online session with Abia State which held on 26 May 2020, the Executive Secretary of the Abia State Economic Planning Commission presented highlights of the proposed adjustments to the 2020 budget, stating that overall, the revenue estimates and the capital expenditure proposals in the original 2020 budget had been reduced by 25% and 45% respectively.
Whilst reviewing the proposals, PERL’s Public Financial Management experts commended the Executive Secretary and her team for the work they had done. They went on to provide advice on the need and benefits of adopting a scientific approach in forecasting the revenues that will accrue to the state in the remaining part of the year; and the value of allocating expenditures on the basis of collectively agreed strategic objectives. As part of next steps, it was agreed that the budget review team at the Planning Commission will rework the projections and allocations using the GREAT Tool and that the reworked version will be sent to PERL for any additional advice from the PFM team.
The session was attended by the Executive Secretary of the Abia State Economic Planning Commission, the State Auditor General, the Economic Adviser to the Governor, the Director of Budget, the State SFTAS focal person and over 11 key Budget and Planning Officers in the State.