Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Ola Olukoyede has called for greater fiscal discipline, transparency and efficient management of resources as ways of deepening and strengthening local government’s administration in Nigeria.
He made the call recently in Kaduna at a Two-Day Workshop organized by the Ministry of Local Government, Kaduna State. According to him, prudent management of resources at the local government will have a positive impact on people at the grassroots and every effort should be made to achieve this. “The local government is structured as a means to enhance development and service delivery, improve governance and deepen democracy. There is no way we can have enough resources for the people but when we apply discipline in the allocation of what we have, we will be able to meet many of the needs at the grassroots”, he said.
He called on Nigerians at the grassroots to be willing and ready to offer information to the EFCC at all times on how their resources are being used. “This brings us to the need for whistleblowing. Fiscal discipline cannot be achieved if the people are not involved in how they are governed. I urge Nigerians at the grassroots to be more determined in their quest for better lives. They should be ready to join the EFCC in exposing corrupt practices in their midst”, he said.
The EFCC’s boss, who spoke through the Kaduna Acting Zonal Commander, Assistant Commander of the EFCC, ACE1 Aisha Abubakar emphasized the need for collaboration in the fight against economic and financial crimes, insisting that he would pay more attention to the preventive framework in tackling corrupt practices. “ International best practices in the fight against graft put preventive frameworks on the front burner. Aside from being a cost effective measure, crimes and criminality are better tackled when incentives to corruption are reduced to the barest minimum”, he said.
He called on local government officials to drive economic development in their various jurisdictions by avoiding wastages and stealing, stressing that “ the major policy objective of the war against corruption and financial crimes is to drive economic development, create wealth and job opportunities for the people. The local government has a lot to contribute to actualize the objective”.
In her remarks, Kaduna State’s Deputy Governor, Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe emphasized the need for local government functionaries to embrace financial discipline in order to conform with global best practices and avoid disruption of the financial system.” We understand that whatever we are doing at the state level, we need you at the local government level to key into positive policies like this in order for us to succeed”. The purpose of this workshop, therefore, is to ensure that key functionaries of local governments catch up with best global practices in financial discipline. We know that discretion can be misused, resulting in persistent deficits, repeated bad policies, rising debt levels, and eventually, bad governance”, she said.
In his welcome address Sadiq Mamman Lagos, Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Kaduna Satate lauded the EFCC’s preventive and enlightenment programmes, noting that they have “further enhanced the comprehension of the EFCC’s objectives and goals in fighting economic and financial crimes “. This understanding, he said, has “enhanced fiscal accountability in the management of local government resources which is very important to the developmental growth of the rural areas and Kaduna state”.
Major highlights of the workshop are various sensitization lectures presented by resource persons from the Kaduna Zonal Command of the EFCC.