Today, 6th of December, 2021, the Local Government Accountability Mechanism (LGAM) and Partnership to Engage, Reform & Learn (PERL) paid a courtesy visit to Honorable Abubakar Buba, the Chairman of Kaduna State chapter of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) as part of activities leading to the Public Policy Dialogue on Strengthening Local Government Fiscal Sustainability and Service Delivery in Kaduna state.
The aim of the visit is to initiate the partnership between ALGON and Local Government Accountability Mechanism (LGAM) towards deepening ongoing reforms that seek to strengthen the local government fiscal sustainability and service delivery. The meeting had in attendance the ALGON Chairman, members of LGAM, PERL and media.
Below are the key highlights of the discussion and resolutions reached.
LGAM felicitated with Honorable Abubakar Buba on his re-election as the Executive Chairman of Lere local government and election as ALGON Chairman, Kaduna state chapter.
The ongoing local government public financial management reforms being facilitated and coordinated by the Ministry for Local Government Affairs and Planning & Budget Commission were applauded.
Some of the ongoing reforms have manifested in the form of enactment of the Local Government Reform Law, 2018; formulation of the Local Government Development Plans for the 23 local government areas; Community Development Charters (CDC) are now informing the local government budgets; annual budget town-hall meetings and other initiatives under the Local Government Fiscal Transparency, Accountability & Sustainability (LFTAS) program.
It was also acknowledged that the reforms have improved the level of transparency, community engagement and accountability in most of the local governments in the state. However, there is much more work to be done in ensuring these reforms translate to improved service delivery.
The ALGON Chairman was applauded for being one of the leading champions of local government reforms and participatory governance in Kaduna state. A recent pointer is the 2021/2022 budget town-hall meeting recently held in Lere local government and the close working relationship he has established with civil society in his local government under LGAM.
Commendably, it was acknowledged that over the past three years, community inputs, through the instrumentality of the Community Development Charter (CDC), have on average informed about 50% of 23 local government budgets in Kaduna state.
However, actual performance of CDC nominated projects in the local government budgets, in terms of releases and execution, has remained low, at an average of 30%. This can be attributed to the low level of revenue generation capacity and other institutional blockages.
The forthcoming Public Policy Dialogue on Strengthening Local Government Fiscal Sustainability and Service Delivery seeks to bring relevant state government Ministries/Departments/Agencies, 23 local governments, LGAM, civil society and media partners to dialogue on strategies towards improving revenue generation and quality of service delivery at the local government level.
The objectives of the dialogue are: to reflect on the successes, gaps and lessons of the current situation of the local government fiscal space and service delivery; brainstorm on new strategies towards improving revenue collection and timely remittance to the local governments; agree on collective action in strengthening transparency and community participation in the local government budget and procurement processes; set-up a State-level Technical Working Group on Local Government Accountability Mechanism (LGAM); and unveil Local Government Accountability Mechanism (LGAM) champions to drive the campaign for more participatory, transparent, accountable and responsive local government administration.
Relevant state government Ministries/Departments/Agencies identified to be invited to the dialogue are the Ministry for Local Government Affairs (MoLGA); Kaduna Internal Revenue Service (KADIRS); Ministry of Finance (MoF); Planning & Budget Commission (P&BC) among others.
The 23 Local Government Chairmen are expected to be part of the dialogue where they will share ideas and strategies to improve revenue generation and quality service delivery.
State actors that have over the years demonstrated political will and commitment in advancing the ongoing local government reforms in various capacities are to be unveiled as Local Government Accountability Mechanism (LGAM) Champions at the dialogue.
The ALGON Chairman expressed his commitment to continue to partner and closely work with civil society and media actors to deepen ongoing local government reforms being facilitated by the State Government.
The continuous support being provided by the Partnership to Engage, Reform & Learn (PERL) to both the government and civil society actors in the State in deepening ongoing local government was acknowledged and commended.
The ALGON Chairman committed to rallying his colleagues, especially the newly elected local government Chairmen, to embrace the ongoing reforms in the areas of promoting transparency, accountability and community engagement.
ALGON and LGAM to co-partner in organizing the Public Policy Dialogue on Strengthening Local Government Fiscal Sustainability and Service Delivery.
ALGON to mobilize the relevant State actors and Council Chairmen to participate in the dialogue; while LGAM is to mobilize the civil society and media partners.
The proposed date agreed for the dialogue is Friday, 17th December, 2021.
Series of media programs are to be organized as part of the preparations preceding the dialogue.
Local Government Accountability Mechanism (LGAM)