By Femi Adi ,Kaduna
Jigawa State government on Thursday organised a two-day retreat for members of the State Executive Council and other top government officials in Kaduna.
In his speech during the opening ceremony of the event held at Hotel Seveeenten ,Kaduna State today , the Jigawa State Governor , Alhaji Muhammad Badaru Abubakar said the retreat is organises to ensure that all government officials are equipped with the requisite knowledge and skills to be on the same page in the implementation of government policies and programmes.
Though he said , members of the State Executive Council hold meeting weekly over running business of government , the retreat is designed to expose them to lots of issues pertinent to progress and development of the State .
According to the Governor, in building a vibrant economy in line with the principles of inclusiveness , creation of strong and diversified local economy for agricultural investments , the need for the retreat is necessary.
He spoke further : ” We believe we have to simultaneously ensure ; sustained improvement in access to quality education , access to affordable, effective and efficient healthcare services , universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation, pursuit of target youths and women empowerment ,skills development and other poverty reduction programmes .
“Our initial focus was largely informed by the dire situation in which wefound ourselves from the onset, a situation characterized combination offiscal uncertainties due to over-dependence on federal allocation largelyfunded by dwindling oil-revenues; huge contractual liabilities and Commitments; and the apparent need for huge capital investments virtually across all sectors. It was for these reasons that since assuming the mantle of leadership of the State that we adopted “Prudence and Value for Money” as a mantra.
” Against all odds, I am pleased to inform this gathering those four yearsdown the line, we have withered the sterm. Our publication “One GoodTerm…” has comprehensively documented the progress we have madeduring my first term as Governor of Jigawa State.
” It is a compendium thatvery colorfully presented our four years of achievements with facts andfigures across all, sectors These were outcomes of years of effective anddisciplined implementation of our annual budgets.
“The budgets we have sorealistically developed and implemented in a very transparent, inclusive and accountable manner with annual implementation rates above 80%othroughout the period. On the governance front, it is gratifying to mention that, several independent assessments by, reputable organizations such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and the Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC) have rated Jigawa State as pacesetter when it comes budget transparency andfinancial accountability including public procurement.
” A number of the participants in this retreat were key players in oursuccess stories in the journey so far. Most are very conversant with ourfocus and policy priorities. Notwithstanding, the Deputy Governor’spresentation will take time to elaborate on our “next level” agenda including a highlight of the success stories as recorded in the “One Good Term…” publication.
” Let me however, mention that Jigawa State is a major contributor to the efforts of the Federal Government in the implementation of its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) onemajor objective of which is doing away with the mono-cultural nature ofthe national economy.
“Our economic growth policy anchored on agricultural transformation is gradually repositioning the State’s economy.
“As reported by the National Bureau of Statistics, Jigawa State had the 3rdhighest growth in small and medium scale enterprises with 116% improvement behind Kwara and Nasarawa states which are 1st andsecond respectively.
“Most of this growth would be found to be along the agricultural value chain. Indeed, the 2017/2018 State GDP Survey by the same NBS has revealed a GDP of over N1.4 trillion for Jigawa State withagriculture being the topmost contributor. While this figure is contestable.”