The participants appreciated the effort of the state government in ensuring that proposed annual budgets are submitted to the State House of Assembly
By Bashir Hassan Abubakar
Bauchi State Government have been called upon to consider the establishment of a Fiscal Responsibility Commission, as an independent agency with mandate to implement the Fiscal Responsibility Law (2008).
This was part of the recommendation of participants at the just concluded three days capacity training workshop for top government officials organised by the office of the head of service, with support from USAID State2State Activity.
The recommendation, which was contained in a communique issued at the end of the workshop, also urged the Bauchi State Government to direct the relevant agencies to Fast-track the design of electronic database register system for the capturing of basic information on of all properties that have electricity connections in urban areas for the purposes of property taxation by June 2022.
The document, which was jointly signed by the Chairman of the communique drafting committee Dr. Dayyabu Chiroma (Commissioner for Information and Communication Bauchi State) and Secretary, Otabor Isaac (PFM Specialist, USAID State2State, Bauchi Field office) further recommended that the office of the Accountant-General should ensure that competent internal auditors from the position of an Assistant Director are posted for the conduct of the audit function to all MDAs in the State
Further recommendations captured in the communique includes:
• The participants appreciated the effort of the state government in ensuring that proposed annual budgets are submitted to the State House of Assembly (SHoA) at least two months before the start of the fiscal years to provide sufficient time for consultations with constituents and other stakeholders to improve inclusiveness in the budgetary process.
• The participants acknowledged the continuous efforts of the State in clearing domestic expenditure arrears and implored the State to sustain the momentum and ensure that all outstanding arrears are reduced by at least 20% annually.
• The participants commended the State for amending the Audit Law to grant financial and operational autonomy to the Office of Audit General and calls for its full implementation without delay.
• The State should make concerted efforts to migrate to IPPSAS accrual basis of accounting, to promote the comparability of the State performance with other states.
• Bauchi State Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning should support the MDAs in developing Medium Term Sector Strategies (MTSS) that align with the State Development Plan. In developing the MTSS, Education, Health and WASH Sectors should be prioritized.
• Bauchi State Bureau of Public Procurement should implement e-procurement in at least four (4) MDAs (including Education, Health and Water) in order to improve transparency and ensure value for money in the procurement of goods and services for the state.
• The Local Governments of Bauchi State should seek the assistance of and collaborate with Ministry of Budget and Planning in producing a Citizens budget as well as translating same into at least one local language and publishing it online before the end of June 2022.
• The Office of Auditor General (Local Government) should be adequately staffed with competent staff to strengthen internal control system of the Local Government
• The State should domesticate the Freedom of Information Act as a conscious effort to promote trading, Ease of Doing Business and economic activities. Also, the State should endeavor to institutionalize the Open Government Partnership (OGP).
• The participants appreciated the State in improving its budget performance and urged the State to consistently improve its budget performance particularly in three sectors (education, health and WASH sectors)
• Public Financial Management-related laws in the state should be harmonized with support from the USAID State2State Activity.
Other recommendations in the communique also suggested that :
• There should be training policy in Bauchi State Civil Service to foster regular capacity building in MDAs. Also, there should be succession plan in all MDAs to ensure vacant positions are filled timely and to promote career progression of civil servants.
• There should be Comprehensive mandate mappings conducted for MDAs to streamline their duties and eliminate duplication of efforts and unhealthy rivalry through collaboration among MDAs.
• The State should deploy Government Financial Management Information Systems (GFMIS) to integrate financial functions in all MDAs in order to promote accountability and transparency
• State should domesticate the National policy on Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
• The efforts of State2State in providing support to the state government on capacity building were highly appreciated and the former was urged to intensify her efforts in that regard
The Communique Drafting Committee, on behalf of the participants, also appreciated the Management and staff of the office of Head of Civil Service and USAID State2State Activity for organising the workshop, stressing that, “no doubt, we have gained a lot from the capacity building training and we will do our best in our respective MDAs in adopting and implementing what we have learnt so far whenever possible, so as to improve PFM for better service delivery in our respective jurisdictions and the State in general.
Our correspondent reports that the PFM training workshop attracted 45 top level Bauchi State Government officials that includes the Head of Service, Commissioners, Permanent Secretaries, CEOs of Agencies and Senior Directors.