By Ameer Obansa, Lokoja
ActionAid Nigeria on Sunday stressed that it would be difficult to see or envisage how the programmes of candidates are going to be implemented in office if they are different from the programmes of the parties through which they got their mandates.
It however maintained that the Agenda and programmes of the candidates for the various offices ought to be in sync with the manifestos and official programme documents of the political parties of the respective candidates.
In statement by Lola Ayanda, Communications Coordinator, ActionAid Nigeria, also said that the Security of the country is paramount, adding that there is strategic need to address the increasing insecurity situation in the country, this the group said has unfortunately resulted in loss of lives and property across the country.
The group noted that in addition, many investors and companies have left the country due to increased insecurity and uncertainties, adding that with this undesired scenario, there is need to have a clear action plan on how these challenges of insecurity will be tackled not just in the northeast, but in all states across Nigeria.
ActionAid maintained that to tackle these challenges, government need to invest more on essential public services like education, health and agriculture, saying that evidences have shown that increased investment in these pro-poor sectors has strong impact on poverty and inequality reduction, while simultaneously creating employment potentials.
It however said there is need to strengthen regulatory mechanism and increase funding of public institutions, saying that Privatisation should not be seen as the only alternative solution to failing public institutions,
“As evident in the power sector, steel industries etc. Privatisation in these areas have led to increased cost without commensurate services, asset stripping, moribund industries and opening of doors for importation leading to adverse effect on economic growth.
“In an economy riddled with inequality and increasing poverty, the development agenda ought to be focused on increasing public investment to deliver efficient and effective public services to create enabling environment for poverty reduction and reduction in the inequality gap.
“Government should not encourage Race to the Bottom by lowering the corporate tax as instrument to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). This has become the common practice across the West African region. However, studies have shown that tax exemptions, holidays etc have little impact on attracting FDI, rather government is encouraged to boost infrastructure, improve on the ease of doing business as mechanism for attracting FDI.
“There is need to strengthen the taxation system in Nigeria with the cardinal objective of making it more progressive, thus creating a situation whereby High Net Worth Individuals, companies etc are made to pay their fair share of tax. This action will lead to the redistribution of resources, enhanced domestic resources mobilisation to finance development objectives of the government etc.
“It is pertinent for candidates to itemize plans on preparedness for emergencies, mitigating the effects of emergencies on household and recovery of survivors to prevent more Nigerians from plunging into poverty. It said
The statement further said that the need for strengthened accountability and transparency in the Public Finance Management (PFM) system has been over-emphasized.
It said to overcome the continuous mismanagement and wastage of the public resources, there is need for a participatory and gender responsive budgeting processes, an effective revenue administration and expenditure management, open contracting and procurement, transparent accounting and reporting procedures, effective internal controls etc.
“As active citizens, we are expected to demand accountability on the utilisation of our common resources.
“Focus should be placed on improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria; a pay as you earn model, where the wealthy pays more taxes, and an accountable revenue generation drive with clear plan on how to improve tax collection systems.
“ActionAid Nigeria recommends a census to ascertain Nigeria’s current population and other vital database such as figures of farmers in the country, considering that agriculture is the highest employer of labour.
“ActionAid Nigeria acknowledges the parties efforts in developing a clear strategy and road map for national development, and in ensuring that Nigerians enjoy full dividends of democracy in the next dispensation.
“We particularly recognize that both parties clearly articulated actions on important and strategic issues that affects the citizens especially the vulnerable groups. These strategic actions include but is not limited to: leveraging on technology to break digital divide; job creation for youths; revamping the education sector, mechanizing agriculture and promoting gender equality. The statement maintained
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