Launch of Nigeria’s first sub-national public finance database

On the 19th of September 2022, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) launched Nigeria’s first open-source sub-national public finance database. The portal hosts comparable annual data on government spending, revenues, and financing for all 36 State governments of the federation. It also features hundreds of performance indicators that track and gage the quality of public spending in service delivery areas such as State-level economic affairs, health, education, environmental protection, public order and safety, social protection, housing, recreation culture and religion as well as general government services.

Unlike at the federal level where public financial management (PFM) reforms were long driven by the need to meet local public service demands and international reporting standards such as the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) and the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) framework, at the State-level, collective action was stirred by a headwind of fiscal crises which had destabilised the budgets of state governments, including the 2008/09 financial crisis, the 2014/16 oil shock, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The periods of economic downturn saw heightened demand from both citizens and governments to do more with less, amidst concerns that poor fiscal discipline had inhibited the capacity of governments to respond swiftly and efficiently in crises times.

In its basics, the new database will support a coordinated environment for PFM reforms that are aimed at promoting fiscal responsibility at the sub-national level. It will also contribute to moving the needle for governance reforms in a federalist country like Nigeria, by closing the second-layer data gap that has long restrained public policy administration, research, advocacy, and action from the bottom up. In the near term, it should also feed into a centralised single treasury portal for the country, encompassing the fiscal data of all three tiers of government in the federation.

All data published in the database are sourced from government budget documents and audited financial statements and presented in line with the National Chart of Accounts (NCOA).


Written by David Nabena, Chief Economist, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Abuja.