It is true that Alhaji Yahaya Bello
is set to take over the mantle of leadership as the sixth democratically
elected Governor of Kogi State at a time when the state’s share of revenue
accruable from the federation account is nose diving, the facts on ground
reveals that the incoming administration will carry a load of huge expectations
from all and sundry in the state who sees the victory of the APC at the last
elections as one to usher in the much craved and desired change, bring succor
and positive turn around to kogites at home and outside.
the prevailing economic realities coupled with the urgent need to rescue our
people from the shackles of poverty and hunger, the exigency of the moment
demands that the incoming administration looks inward to sort for funds to
better the lots of our people. Ours is a civil service state with over 75% of
the working population being under the employment of the state and local
government, this means that a lion share of the state’s resources is being
channeled into payment of workers’ salaries, pension and gratuity, and other
allowances. The honest truth is that no state can thrive or performs optimally
when majority of its resource is used in paying salaries and allowances.
Resources that should go into infrastructural development like, motorable
roads, provision of portable drinking water, improve and establish hospitals to
enhance health care delivery system, improve the condition of schools to aide
better teaching and learning etc, which the people yearns earnestly.
wonder why successive administrations in the state were not able to keep a
clean sheet in terms of payment of workers’ salaries, pension and allowances.
This is because of the need to create equilibrium between human and
infrastructural developmental needs of the populace; one has to suffer a setback
for the other to be met. As it currently stands, the Internally Generated Revenue
IGR of the state is nothing to write home about, I am an advocate of the fact
that state has no business waiting for monthly allocations from the federation
account before workers’ salaries are paid. As a matter of fact I fully support
the proposition that any state whose IGR can’t pay salaries of its workforce
should cease to exist as a state or rather be merged with another to make it
Available records and statistics shows
that only Lagos and Kano states can conveniently pay its workers from their IGR
with not having to wait on monthly federal allocations from Abuja. The need for
Kogi State to put machinery in motion at speedily increasing the state’s IGR is
a task which the incoming administration should embark on as a matter of
priority. Moving Kogi State from its present status of a civil service state
into an industrialized one that would ensure creation of ample job, for our
teaming unemployed youth and curb the prevailing hunger, poverty and
restiveness as promised by the APC during the gubernatorial campaigns can only
come to fruitions through an improved IGR.
fact that Lagos State has been able to boost its IGR base through effective
collection and prompt remission of taxes into the state’s account is no longer
news. Hence, the need for the new administration to borrow from the expertise
of tax administrators and workers of its Lagos state counterpart. Training and
retraining of staff of the Kogi state revenue service by either inviting
experts from Lagos state to come and train ours or
staff to Lagos to be trained is highly indicated and needed at this moment if
Kogi state is to benefit and learn from the “magic” of Lagos state as far of as
taxes collection and remission of revenues are concerned.
The greatest asset of any state
organization is its people i.e its human resources. Luckily, Kogi state is well
blessed and endowed with a brilliant, agile, enterprising and a hardworking
people which if effectively put to use and harnessed can turn the revenue base
of the state around. The time for us to de-emphasize reliance on oil money from
Abuja is now. God has already blessed the confluence state with abundant
mineral resources which if prudently tapped has the capacity to replace crude
oil and make Kogi one of the richest states in the federation.
Ghost-worker-syndrome which has being a
conduit pipe through which the state’s meager resource is being milked by
corrupt individuals should be carefully tackled through a well programmed and
comprehensive staff audit or workers biometric registration. This will ensure
that only people who are genuinely under the employment of government get paid
and further blocked leakages. Previous administrations since creation of the
state have treated the issue of pension and gratuity with levity, leaving our
senior citizens who have served the state in their youth days to suffer unduly
and languish in penury, the prevailing condition where some state pensioners
still earns as meager as #5000 monthly should be looked into and reviewed
upward as a matter of priority.
As the governor-elect takes an oath of
office come 27th January, 2016 and hits the ground running as
expected, what will be his greatest undoing which would eventually lead to his
failure in office is if he surrounds himself or mingle too much with “people of
yesterday” or political praise singers who specializes in sycophancy. Running
an open-door and an all inclusive government that would ensure a cross
fertilization of ideas is, however, needed if Yahaya Bello wants to succeed.
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