Fiscal Responsibility Surest Way To Infrastructure Development, Says Kaduna Deputy Governor Balarabe

BY; AMOS EBUTE MATHEW, Kaduna

Deputy Governor of Kaduna State Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe has harped on financial discipline among civil servants as surest way to achieve infrastructure growth and development in Nigeria.

The Deputy Governor blamed deficit and dearth of infrastructures on poor financial discipline among public servants, a situation she said must not be allowed to linger if the country must reserve the ugly trend of shortage and decayed public service utilities.

She disclosed this while declaring open a two-day sensitization workshop for Chairmen and Management staff of the 23 Local Government Councils on Fiscal Discipline
held at Fifth Chukker, Kaduna on Tuesday.

Quoting the World Bank’s Public Finance Review Report, Dr Balarabe said, “Nigeria currently lags behind in infrastructure, ranking 132 out of 137 countries in the 2018 Global Competitive Index. The report projects a staggering $3 trillion physical infrastructure gap over the next three decades.”

She stated that strong fiscal discipline could build up financial management capacity, which contributes to good governance, more infrastructure, and social services.

She explained that, Kaduna State Government has taken significant steps to ensure that fiscal discipline and responsible financial management is maintained in the State by enacting the Fiscal Responsibility Law which established the Fiscal Responsibility Commission.

The Commission, according to her is an independent body responsible for monitoring and enforcing laws related to public spending, including the powers to punish those who violate fiscal rules. “The State Government has taken steps to ensure transparency and accountability in public affairs. The details of the State Budget and financial reports are published for public scrutiny. Citizens and civil society organizations are involved in the budget process and decision-making.

The workshop jointly organized by the Ministry for Local Government and the Federal Anti-Corruption bodies, is part of Kaduna State Government’s effort towards entrenching financial discipline and strengthening local government administration.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Sadiq Mamman Lagos, said the issue of fiscal responsibility has become critical in the efficient management of resources in Nigeria in view of the limited resources at the government’s disposal when compared to the promises made to the people.

“Therefore, enhancing fiscal accountability in the management of local government resources is most desirable. Kaduna state government under the purposeful leadership of Senator Uba Sani has made fiscal discipline, a critical part of his SUSTAIN Agenda to promote accountability in the affairs of governance.

“The Kaduna State Ministry for Local Government Affairs under my leadership has taken a cue from the state government to promote fiscal discipline in the 23 local government councils of Kaduna State. We shall not pay lip service to financial discipline in our local government councils. We shall March our words with actions,” he said.

Also speaking, the executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede added that the anti-graft body has decided to take corruption fight to the grassroots because the local government is very close to the people.

According to him, the local government being an important tier of government that is closed to the populace is one of the best agencies that can drive the much-needed wider participation of the local population in their anti-corruption campaign.

Represented by the Zonal Commander, ACE, Aisha Abubakar, he noted that by definition, a local Government is government operating through representative councils established by law to exercise specific powers within defined local areas.

Speaking on the topic, “Enhancing Fiscal Discipline in the Management of Local Government, Olukoyede posited that the importance of local government as the third tier of government, vis-a-vis the topic for this engagement, can not be over-emphasised.