By Hassana Yakubu
The Governor of Plateau, Simon Lalong has suggested strategies to reduce the cost of governance in the country.
Lalong made the suggestion in a paper he presented at the 11th Annual Lecture of Arewa House, on Saturday in Kaduna.
The lecture was on “Reducing High Cost of Governance For Inclusive Growth and Youth Empowerment in Post COVID-19 Northern Nigeria.”
According to him, security challenges have constituted major drain on the country’s resources in view of its intractable nature and scope.
He noted that the problem of Boko Haram alone had gulped hundreds of billions of naira.
Lalong added that the retinue of public appointees and bloated civil service also contributed to high cost of governance.
The governor added that corruption has contributed to high cost of governance, with consequences on growth and development, and raising the country’s insecurity, poverty and unemployment levels.
Lalong added that the poverty index and unemployment rate arising from large population in the north have contributed to increase insecurity in the region.
He said that states in the region spend more money on recurrent expenditure, thus contributing to the poverty level of the region.
The governor agreed that there was need curb the high cost of governance by “keying into e-governance at all levels of governance, reducing the size of civil service and political offices.”
He also advocated the treaming of ministries, departments and agencies, and ensuring transparency and accountability, to reduce cost of governance.
According to him, the Northern Governors Forum has been playing significant role in reducing high cost of governance by mitigating security challenges and youth unemployment.
He said the forum, in finding ways to address the challenges, focused on youth development to reduce unemployment.
Lalong said the forum’s committee chaired by the Emir of Zazzau, had recommended investing in skills development, technology education and equipping the youth with ICT skills to enable them cope with global trends.
Lalong disclosed that governors in the region were also working on a legal framework to ensure that parents comply with the free and composory education policy.
He called for the re-introduction of Grade Il teachers certificate, to facilitate production of professional teachers for schools, to enhance the quality of education.
On security, Lalong said the northern governors had noted the large ungoverned spaces in the region, and agreed that the formal security network should be complemented by traditional security apparatus.
According him, a committee chaired by Gov. Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa, had recommended more synergy between security agencies and traditional security system, including hunters and vigilantes.
He assured that the priority of the governors was to end banditry and other forms of insecurity in the region.
The governor stressed the need for implementation of development strategies that leverage on advance knowledge of post conflict redevelopment strategy and commitment with Nigeria’s partners.
He said that transforming the agricultural sector as a key driver of growth and development, as well as job and wealth creation remained imperative in the region.(NAN)