2-DAY RETREAT ORGANISED FOR TOP GOVERNMENT FUNCTIONARIES IN NASARAWA STATE HELD AT KINI COUNTRY GUEST INN, AKWANGA: WEDNESDAY, 30TH TO THURSDAY, 31ST OCTOBER, 2019
1.1 The Retreat, with the theme “Charting a Fresh Vision for Greater Nasarawa State” is for Top Government Functionaries in Nasarawa State was held at Kini Country Guest Inn, Akwanga, Nasarawa State on Wednesday, 30th and Thursday, 31st October, 2019. The retreat was attended by His Excellency, Engr. Abdullahi A. Sule, the Governor; His Excellency, Dr. Emmanuel Akabe, the Deputy Governor; Secretary to the Government of Nasarawa State; Head of the Civil Service; Honourable Commissioners (designate); Special Advisers; Senior Special Assistants; Special Assistant; Personal Assistants; Permanent Secretaries; Chief Executives of Government Commissions, Boards and Agencies respectively.
1.2 In his welcome address, the Secretary to the Government of Nasarawa State, Hon. Tijani Aliyu Ahmed, welcomed participants and Resource Persons to Akwanga and stated that the retreat is a paradigm shift from the old ways of doing things which is timely and apt, considering its significance, especially now with the appointment of Hon. Commissioners (designate) and Special Advisers aimed at acquainting them with the rudiments of processes and procedures of the conduct of Government business.
1.3 The retreat was declared open by His Excellency, Engr. Abdullahi A. Sule, the Governor of Nasarawa State. In his opening remarks, he intimated that the appointment of the new public or political officer holds was based on their pedigree, credentials and track records and not on primordial considerations. He then enjoined the participants to take the retreat seriously and ensure that the knowledge gained is internalized and put to practice in running Government.
1.4 He further stressed that the expectation of Government from the retreat is to expose participants to the rudiments of government business in the formulation of policies and implementation of programmes and projects.
1.5 He also recalled that on assumption of office and in line with the policy objectives of the Administration, a Committee on the restructuring of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to streamline government machineries for optimal performance and Investment and Economic Advisory Council to stimulate growth and development were set-up in addition to flag-off construction of roads among others.
1.6 He disclosed that the present Administration would ensure that salary and pension payments in percentages will be a thing of the past, especially at the Local Government Councils. The Governor equally stated that the issue of National Minimum Wage of Thirty Thousand Naira (N30,000.00) would be looked into through negotiations and advocacy with labour leaders using open dialogue process.
1.7 The Governor further stated that the State Government is pursuing with vigour the adoption of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) to block leakages and ensure efficiency in the management of resources.
1.8 He encouraged Ministries, Departments and Agencies to key into Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as well as to collaborate with Nasarawa Internal Revenue Service (NIRS) for enhanced revenue generation to address empowerment, employment, women and youth industrialization and infrastructure development.
1.9 The retreat which was segmented into a 2-day programme had Prof. Suleiman Bala Moh, the Vice Chancellor, Nasarawa State University, Keffi and Chief Silas J. Dachor, Permanent Secretary, rtd. as Chairmen with ten (10) different papers presented by erudite Resource Persons who are indigenes of Nasarawa State across various world live except one.
1.10 After the presentations, contributions, extensive discussions, participants reserved as follows:
- Public and political office holders are encouraged to read and analyse security reports;
- Political and public office holders should be steadfast, transparent in the conduct of Government business and should be in touch with grassroots to address crisis;
- The need for a functional data base in Ministries, Department and Agencies in the State to track Government transactions;
- Image and actions of Government appointees should reflect the vision and mission of Government and citizens should be given ownership of mandates matching their peculiar needs to stabilize communities;
- Faith based dialogue should be encouraged to promote tolerance to enhance security and security matters should also be proactive to avoid conflict manifestation;
- Appointees should be proficient in identifying early signs of deteriorating situations and be willing to act before they escalate which can be done through engagement of stakeholders;
- Appointees should be prudent in the utilization of public funds and public and political office holders should be opened to constructive criticism;
- The need for establishment of public procurement/due diligence unit for transparency, accountability and effectiveness;
- The urgent need for the composition of a State Budget and Planning Implementation Unit;
- The ICT is user friendly and has capacity to provide data banks, efficiency for internal and external utilization;
- All Government functionaries are encouraged to have secured e-mail address and be ICT compliance;
- The State needs to expand and deepen its Revenue Generation Net by maximizing and optimizing Revenue Resources;
- The need for a deliberate efforts aimed at training and re-training to build capacity for good governance;
- The need for robust engagement of critical stakeholders including Traditional Rulers in the running of the Government, especially in actualizing NEDS document.
- Public office holders should embrace transparency and accountability in the conduct of government business;
- Public office holders should take public opinion into cognizance in discharging a policy formulation in order to ensure a democratic governance process and address public agitations;
- Government should diversify its revenue sources by investing in agricultural sector to boost the economy of the State and create job opportunities for the unemployed youths;
- Separation of power is not separation of Government. It follows, therefore, there must be mutual collective responsibilities between the tiers of Government to achieve the objective of governance, social harmony and integration. Dialogue and consensus between the executive and the legislative should be encourage and promoted for public interest and good governance;
- The need to resuscitate the moribund Joint Local Government and State Revenue Tax Collection Committee
- That the public service should be equipped to implement and enforce the economic, political and social policies of Government and also ensure prudency, and accountability in the management of public funds;
- The Office of the Head of Civil Service is to provide a good leadership direction to the civil servants by ensuring and maintaining high moral standard as well as liaising with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of Nasarawa State to obtain and circulate relevant Government documents including the Nigeria Constitution, Code of Conduct, Public Service Rule, Financial Regulation and other extant documents to public and political office holders;
- All Government Ministries, Department and Agencies should collaborate with the Nasarawa State ICT Bureau to key into Home Based and Secured Services and not to contract to outside Consultants.
- Government should consider the need to bring on board the indigenous Resource Persons engaged in the retreat to tap on their wealth of experiences to the advantage of the State;
- Internal Generated Revenue must be treated electronically (ICT) to avoid/block leakages;
- A computerized system must be in place to enable constant monitoring;
- Revenue staff must be aggressive, futuristic and so need constant training especially on customer relations;
- Revenue collection must be planned to maximize collection.
- Time and cost benefit analyses target advocates realistic evidence based but motivational revenue targets;
- Reward target achievement to avoid leakages;
- Investment in Tax Education, billboards, social media campaigns.
- Citizens have to know about tax, why they should pay, where and when to pay;
- Revenue generation is intelligence gathering when money collected is utilized judiciously, it elicits better compliance;
- Returns on payment must be visible;
- There must be political will and support to revenue collecting agencies;
- Improving revenue sharing indices of the State;
- Establishment of working committees on revenue indices to harmonise;
- Nasarawa State leverage on international ICT tools to grow its capacity;
- The need for an independent monitoring unit to monitor activities of Government and report;
- The need for MDAs including State-owned Tertiary Institutions to declare their revenue collection;
- The need to strengthen legal frameworks on Nasarawa Internal Revenue Service.
2.0 The Communiqué drafting Committee wishes to register its appreciation for considering them worthy to carry out this all important assignment.