The Honourable Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs Senator Dr George Akume has called on State Governments to deploy allocated funds to the local governments for the provision of effective and efficient service delivery for Nigerians in the grass roots.
Akume made this call in his welcome address at the two-day retreat for Local Government Chairmen/Executives held from 6-7 December, 2021 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
He stressed on the need to allow Local Governments to thrive as this would pave way for the development of the Local Government Councils. He noted that bad governance over the years has led to increased wave of crimes and social maladies as banditry, kidnapping, cultism and rural urban migration.
The Governor of Akwa Ibom State Deacon Udom Emmanuel in his opening remarks lamented that the revenue sharing formular by the Federal Government has posed a great problem for LGCs over the years as it was not a fair and equitable sharing formular. The Governor was ably represented by the Secretary to State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwen.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs Amb. Anthonia A. Ekpa PhD, in her remarks noted that the theme, “Good Governance, Resource Mobilization and Public Financial Management For Rural Areas Development,” was carefully chosen as good governance ensures development in all areas of a State. Akwa Ibom she noted represents a State experiencing good governance hence, the choice of Akwa Ibom for the hosting of the retreat.
Thought provoking papers were presented by resource persons and after exhaustive deliberations, a 10-point Communique was released. Some of the resolutions are:
That all tiers of government should be encouraged to have national development plans in order to promote economic stability and job creation in the country
That the office of Budget and National Planning should provide capacity building on development plans for staff of states and local government councils
That Local Government Chairmen should be involved in the needs assessment by various interventions such as Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Primary Health Care Development Authority (NPHCDA) and other similar agencies.
That Local Government Councils be encouraged to automate their accounting systems and revenue generation system to check financial leakages and eliminate ghost workers syndrome.
That the Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs should interface with the National and State Assemblies in order to standardize the tenure of local government Chairmen.
That the LGCs should diversify their resources of internally generated revenue to reduce their dependence on Federal and State Governments.
The meeting had in attendance the Honourable Minister of State for Budget and National Planning Mr. Clem Agba who was represented by Prof. Ayodele Olumide, the Technical Adviser to the DG Budget Office. Some members of the Akwa Ibom State Executive Council, heads of National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF), National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) and the Nigerian National Merit Award (NNMA), all agencies of the Ministry and Directors in the Ministry were in attendance at the retreat.