Food Security: Expert seeks synergy between FG, states
Dr Tewodaj Mogues, a Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, on Tuesday, called for synergy between the Federal and State governments to achieve food sufficiency in Nigeria.
Mogues made the call when she delivered a lecture organised by the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Ibadan.
The title of the lecture is ‘Role of Actors and Institutions in Agricultural Public Expenditure Allocation and National Food Security: Evidence from Sub National Jurisdictions in Nigeria’.
Mogues said efforts to strengthen inter-governmental coordination in agricultural spending were underway but obstacles to cooperation remain.
She emphasised that overlapping responsibilities between the Federal and state government levels led to poor coordination in public spending.
According to her, after a budget has undergone standard processes, extant rules create openings for policymakers to exercise significant discretion on revising it, even after public expenditures have begun to be implemented.
“Generally, presidential systems tend to give relatively large leeway to legislative bodies such as parliament in shaping public expenditure assignments.
“However, in Nigeria’s presidential system, the role of legislative bodies appears marginal at the state level and it’s practically nil at the local government level,” Mogues said.
She further said that the constitution and laws left room for interpretation about what the responsibilities and authorities of different tiers of government were.
“State government leaders exploit these same legal ambiguities to exercise discretionary power over the public finances of local governments.
“Furthermore, lower-tier governments are over dependent on federal transfers, given that the transfers are significantly larger than the revenues local governments collect themselves,” Mogues said.
Earlier, the Acting Director-General, NISER, Prof. Victor Adeyeye, said the seminar was part of the institute’s mandate and was the first to be held in 2017.
Represented by Prof. Soji Adesanya, the Director, Economic Policy and Research, Adeyeye thanked Mogues for honouring the invitation by coming from Washington.