From ABDULL-AZEEZ AHMED KADIR, Kaduna
In order to avoid conflict of duty, acquaint them with their duties and responsibilities, Kaduna State Government has organised a two day orientation workshop for the newly elected Chairmen and management staff of local government councils in the state.
Declaring the workshop open, the state governor Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, tasked the Chairmen on prudent management of resources, accountability and transparency within the period they have to spend in office.
“The Local Governments as I have often said are the closest tier of Government to the people, which underscores the need for quality leadership to ensure that citizens enjoy dividends of democracy. I therefore challenge all elected officials to ensure that you initiate programmes that will impact positively on the lives of your people. All programmes and project embarked upon by the previous administration should be carefully studied and completed before new ones are conceived” hr stressed.
He tasked them to take advantage of the ongoing budget process to ensure that their programmes are well articulated in the 2013 proposals. Also, in line with the state cardinal objectives of ensuring Security, Unity and Development, he enjoined them to ensure that they imbibe the same values by carrying the message down to the grass root.
“All hands must therefore be on deck towards ensuring that there is security in our localities, promote unity among the various ethnic and religious groups as well as ensure the spread of development in every nook and cranny of your Local Government Areas” Yakowa said.
He said that all the tiers of Government were facing serious funding challenges, which meant they have to look inward by harnessing all revenue from internal sources in order to reduce their overdependence on income from statutory sources.
He explained that the State Government was already pursuing a serious revenue drive to ensure maximum collection of taxes from all sources so as to bridge the funding gaps and that certain reforms were taking place in this regard in the Local Governments through the intervention of GEMS/ENABLE as well as the recently passed harmonized revenue laws and rates for Local Governments.
“With these plans fully on ground, I would expect the Local Government Councils to generate enough revenue internally to defray some of their major expenses, including payment of salary” he enthused.
He used the opportunity to remind them to take the issue of transparency and accountability seriously. “You are entrusted with the management of public resources and every care must be taken to safeguard and ensure judicious application of these resources” he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Commissioner for Local Government, Alhaji Magaji Sadiq Hunkuyi, said there were quite a number of reforms being institutionalized by the Ministry and the Local Government Service Commission.
He asserted that they were designed to add value to the system by improving the way they do things.
He called call on the participants to see these reforms as additional value to improve the Local Government system. The State, he also explained, was also pursuing similar reforms across its many sectors and there is the need for synergy to be created so as to strengthen the system.
He assured that the gains of the workshop would be taken beyond the four wall of General Hassan Usman Katsina House, Kaduna
The two day workshop is meant to induct and reorient the newly elected Local Government officials and management staff of the roles, duties and responsibilities expected of them as leaders and managers of the 3rd tier of Government.
It is also meant to prepare them for the challenges as well as create the needed synergy between political office holders and civil servants.
From ABDULL-AZEEZ AHMED KADIR, Kaduna