By Femi Mustapha
The Local Government Accountability Mechanisms (LGAM) has stressed the need of legal backing for the inclusion of the Community Development Charter (CDC) into the State annual budgets and town-hall meetings.
The group stated this when they paid a courtesy visit to the Kaduna State Fiscal Responsibility Commission on 9th, December 2021.
According to them, there is a need for the amendment of the Commission’s law; as similar provisions have been provided in the Local Government Reform law, 2018, for local government budgets.
LGAM expressed dismay that although the CDC informs the annual budgets of the 23 Local Governments on average by 50%; due to low revenue generation, collection and retention, the actual performance has been on average a dismal 30%.
They Commended the for opening up its doors to the civil society and media partners to identify, discuss and agree on areas of partnership in strengthening fiscal transparency, accountability, and sustainability.
This according to them is consistent with the principles of Open Government Partnership (OGP) as committed to by the Kaduna State Government.
The team led by Yusuf Goje
LGAM/ CALPED added that there is a need to effectively strengthen the Commission in line with the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Law, 2016, which was reiterated.
“This will go a long way in entrenching the culture of good governance and institutionalizing ongoing public financial management reforms in the State.
“Even though progress has been recorded, the civil society partners have observed that the Commission, since the passage of the law in 2016, has been faced with challenges of low staffing, logistics, and funding.
“However, the Commission stated that the State Governor has graciously approved recommendations towards strengthening its operations and effectiveness.”
LGAM to complement the watchdog responsibility of the Commission by providing alternate reports towards strengthening fiscal responsibility and sustainability in the State.
Similarly, it promised to embark on a behavioral change campaign targeting communities to participate in governance processes and take ownership of government projects.
They also assured the Commission that Media partners under the umbrella of LGAM will provide platforms for the Commission to amplify its mandate and activities.
The LGAM sought the partnership of the Commission in the forthcoming Public Policy Dialogue on Local Government Fiscal Sustainability & Service Delivery in Kaduna state.
Executive Chairman of the Commission, Murtala Dabo, accompanied by the three Permanent Commissioners, Secretary of the Commission, and SA to the Chairman said Commission will liaise with relevant authorities to ensure the cash-backing of the LFTAS performance grant to the 23 Local Government Areas.
He added that the Commission, as an independent body, will also follow up on the issues raised by LGAM on challenges hindering appropriate statutory remittance of 10% IGR and reconciliation of revenues collected on behalf of the 23 Local Government Areas.
The Commission reiterated its commitment to working with civil society to ensure residents of the State enjoy the benefits of good governance as a result of enforcing tenets of prudent management of public finance in Kaduna State.
The ES assured that the Commission is open to receiving complaints and alarms from civil society and commits to acting on them as long as it is backed by evidence.