The Local Government Accountability Mechanism (LGAM) has commanded the Kaduna State Government for disbursing about 152 million Naira performance grants under the Local Government Fiscal Transparency, Accountability & Sustainability (LFTAS) program owed the 23 LGAs of the State.
The Lead, Secretariat of the Mechanism, Yusuf Ishaku Goje made the commendation in a statement made available to the media On 24th February, 2022.
The Statement stated that the disbursement was done through the state Planning and Budget Commission.
The statement added that the commendation is instructive because civil society organizations had used various mediums to question the overstretched delay and advocated for timely disbursement of the grants since 2020.
According to Goje, in as much as it is the civic responsibility of the civil society to constructively criticize and hold the government accountable; nonetheless, it will be hypocritical not to acknowledge and encourage the government when it performs, noting that the goal is not to pull the government down, but to keep them on their toes in performing Section 14, sub-section 2 b, of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
He explained that the disbursement is a result of the fact that many of the civil society partners had bought into the innovative program and taken ownership of it.
“Collaboratively, the civil society and media partners on invitation of the Commission had actively participated in the process from inception down to an assessment of performance of the 23 LGAs.
“The experience provided civil society actors first hand understanding of the reform program and the innate potential for strengthening local government fiscal sustainability, improving quality of service delivery and accelerating the actualization of development outcomes.
“This is so because the LFTAS program – an innovative reform program jointly implemented by the Planning and Budget Commission and Ministry for Local Government Affairs with support from Perl Nigeria – provides an enabler for strengthening Local Governments’ fiscal performance and sustainability, reducing fiscal risk, improving intergovernmental fiscal coordination, enhancing effective implementation of development plan and policies, and most importantly, increasing constructive community participation in local government governance.
“Being an innovative replication of the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability & Sustainability (SFTAS) program, each local government is entitled to a cumulative incentive of 20 million Naira – if they meet the required disbursement linked indicators cutting across five thematic areas which includes: budget preparation process; adherence to policy documents; strengthen Internally Generated Revenue (IGR); improved public procurement system and reduce payroll fraud; and tackling absenteeism and nonchalant attitude of Primary School Teachers and Health Personnel.
“Also, worthy of note is that the LFTAS program has accelerated the implementation of the reform intervention strategies recommended in the 2017 Local Government Governance Baseline Self-Assessment supported by the FCDO governance program – Partnership to Engage, Reform Learn.
‘ The assessment covered four major Local Government reform areas: Public Financial Management (PFM); Policy and Strategy; Public Service Management; and Monitoring & Evaluation.”
Goje who is Head of Governance of the Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment & Development (CALPED) stressed that now that the first disbursement has been made, and with the Honorable Commissioner of the Planning & Budget Commission, Muhammad Sani Dattijo hinting that the performance grant might be increased subject to approval by the State Executive Council – attention must fully shift to ensure the program is strengthened and sustained.
He said this is so because the results achieved so far are largely at the output level.