In order to checkmate the erosion challenges and other natural indices in the state,the Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya has said that the environmental challenges and climate change have become a global issue affecting all human and development actions put in place.
The Governor made the observation during the presentation of 2021 budget proposal to the State House of Assembly on Thursday in Gombe.
The Governor added that the challenge in the areas of environmental sanitation, waste management, environmental pollution, flooding, soil erosion, desertification, climate change and the management of the environment itself which his administration is poised towards addressing them should be tackled headlong.
This development made his administration to embark on aggressive Gombe Goes Green (3Gs) project that would cover the whole State hence implementing the World Bank Assisted Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) for which this administration paid Five Hundred Million Naira (N500,000,000.00) as counterpart fund to enable us access this World Bank fund.
Furthermore, they have established nurseries in five (5) LGAs and raised 1.2Million assorted seedlings that were planted during the 2020 rainy season.
” In the same vein, Government established a 100 hectres of woodlot plantations across five (5) desert prone LGAs to combat desertification and land degradation.”
The Governor assured of his administration”s efforts to continue to tackle the environmental challenges while his administration would come up with deliberate policies and programmes to address the issues
“This is in addition to preparing an Environmental Protection Master Plan that will guide our actions. I am aware that the Ten-Year Development Plan (2020 – 2030) being prepared devoted a pillar in the plan for addressing environmental challenges”, adding they shall come up with relevant Environmental Sanitation Laws to guide their actions and strengthening the operations of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the Environmental Protection Agency to be able to address these challenges.
” For the 2021 fiscal year, the sum of Three Billion, Two Hundred and Twenty-Eight Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira(N3,228,500,000.00.) is earmarked for investment in the Environmental and Forestry sub-sector.”.
He lamented that the abundant potentials for job creation for which most of the youths are engaged thereby mopping up the youths from the streets while the Ministry has the responsibility of repositioning the State in Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) and promoting innovations in the State.
” With our commitment towards promoting science, technology and innovation in the State that the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation is urged to step up its efforts towards realizing our full potentials. The sum of Three Hundred and Seventy-Seven Million Naira (N377,000,000.00) is earmarked for the operations of the Ministry in the 2021 fiscal year.”
To achieve our development objectives, the Governor said that it was imperative that they invest in the people through human capital development which means improving access to good and affordable healthcare, nutrition, education, and foster social inclusion for all the people.
” We are therefore poised to improve the disturbing statistics of infant mortality, life expectancy, illiteracy and unemployment”.
According to the Governor, “the challenges we met when we assumed office in the Education sector. We are determined to ensure quality universal education for Gombe State children and youths through improvement in teacher quality, strengthening quality assurance, increase investment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), improve funding mechanism for facilities and infrastructure development and a conscious effort at promoting girl-child education and reducing the menace of out of school children”.
He said his administration taken bold steps to addressing these challenges by declaring a state of emergency in education to bridge the infrastructural gaps in the schools by building 234 new additional classrooms across 80 schools, renovated 190 classrooms in 47 schools as well as established a state-of-the-art Teacher Resource Centre at Kwami for training and retraining of Teachers to meet the demands of modern teaching profession.
“We are also addressing the high prevalence of out of school children through Better Education and Service Delivery for All (BESDA) Projects for which more than 300,000 children were mopped up and enrolled back to school, paid counterpart funds that enabled the State access the UBEC grant that we are using to undertake the massive constructions and renovations works in our primary and secondary schools as well as attract support from Corporate organizations and Development Partners”.
“In order to address the huge gap in teacher availability, we are recruiting 1,000 in the first instance and a total of 2,413 qualified teachers to be deployed to our junior and senior secondary schools with a view to achieving a teacher to pupil ratio of 1 – 40”
” We will also begin the upgrading of 5 secondary schools to model science secondary schools”.
” We shall not falter in our drive towards making a turnaround in the education sector. It is in this regards that the sum of Six Billion, Three Hundred and Forty-Eight Million, Four Hundred Thousand Naira (N6,348,400,000.00) is allocated for investment in education in the 2021 fiscal year”.
With the pragmatic turnaround efforts being made in primary and secondary education, the Governor noted that the objective is to produce the needed and qualified students that will gain admission into the tertiary institutions in the State and other institutions across the country, adding that they shall continue to accord the tertiary institutions the needed attention through adequate funding, the availability of quality teaching staff, provision of physical infrastructure and facilities and making sure they continue to access the TETFUND grants.
According to him, “the report of the committee set up to review the establishment of higher institutions in the State will further guide the administration in strengthening our tertiary educational institutions in the State”.
“To achieve this, the sum of Three Billion, Five Hundred and Ninety-Two Million Naira (N3,592,000,000.00) has been earmarked for investment in the Higher Education sub-sector in the 2021 fiscal year”.
There is no gainsaying that the health system they inherited did not provide the level of services required to meet the needs of the people of the State and it is in view of the situation that they met that and took deliberate actions to improve the availability, accessibility, affordability and quality of healthcare services, and provide regular funding.
“As part of our efforts towards addressing these challenges in the health sector, we also declared a state of emergency in this sector. We embarked on aggressive revitalization of primary healthcare facilities with the aim of providing at least one functional primary healthcare centre in each of the 114 wards of the State. This feat has been achieved in the year 2020”
“We also thoroughly renovated and upgraded the State Specialist Hospital, thereby expanding its capacity to meet the increasing demand for normal and specialized healthcare services for our growing population. To meet the rising need for improved human resources for healthcare, we are providing the needed attention to our healthcare institutions in the State – The College of Nursing and Midwifery and the College of Health Technology, providing the enabling environment for our medical and health courses students to pursue their studies, as well as completed the Internship quarters in the Specialist Hospital that has been abandoned for over 20 years thereby meeting one of the key requirements for internship training of our young Doctors and other healthcare personnel requiring internship”.
In conjunction,, he said, they have enacted enabling laws for instituting the contributory healthcare programme aimed at reducing out of pocket expenditure for healthcare services and providing risk protection to the people and the establishment of the Hospitals Management Board.
On the COVID-19 pandemic that brought about unprecedented economic and public health challenges globally, the administration responded quite early by improving the level of preparedness of the health system including setting up and equipping of isolation and treatment centres.
He noted that Gombe State has one of the highest recovery rates and the lowest death rate from COVID-19 in the country as well as to cushion the economic hardship brought about by the pandemic leading to the setting up a palliative program that delivered palliative support to about 400,000 individuals across 67,000 households.
” We are also working with the World Bank to facilitate the State’s participation in the COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (N-CARES) project that will support our post COVID-19 recovery efforts”.
He expressed appreciation to the Federal Government, Development Partners, Foundations, the private sector and individuals for their continued support in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic and other healthcare challenges.
” Special appreciation goes to our healthcare personnel for being steadfast in their services despite the attendant risk they took. On our part, we shall continue to provide the enabling environment for fruitful partnership and the work of our healthcare personnel. In our continued effort of improving and ensuring quality access to healthcare services in the state, the sum of Five Billion, Five Hundred and Forty-Nine Million Naira (N5,549,000,000.00) is allocated for the Health sector in the 2021 fiscal year.”.
The Governor noted the challenge of youth restiveness is an issue that required deliberate and urgent attention hence his Government is mindful of the growing unemployment among this category of the population and the worsening poverty situation it has created.
” To this end, we are determined to boost job creation and improve employability by closing the skills gap. We shall also undertake skills training using our skills centres, encouraging and leveraging on development partnerships that addresses the needs of the youths”.
On sports development, the administration will continue to encourage the youths and provide the enabling environment for their engagement in sports as well as encourage private sector investment in the sporting sub-sector while thehe Ministry of Youths and Sports Development shall continue with its talents hunt schemes and come up with workable plans towards strengthening the sporting sector.
“For its operations in the 2021 fiscal year, the sum of One Billion, and Fifty-Five Million Naira (N1,055,000,000.00) is earmarked for investment in Youth and Sports sub-sector.”
The role of information in the development process cannot be overemphasized hence the administration has continued to provide the enabling environment for the operations of government and private media outfits.
In the 2021 fiscal year, the sum of Six Hundred and Forty-One Million Naira (N641,000,000.00) is earmarked for the Ministry of Information and Culture.
Also, the administration will continue to step up its efforts of ensuring social and financial inclusion of women, children, the physically challenged and the elderly as well as the rising poverty, increasing inequality and rising unemployment that affected the welfare and living conditions of the women.
“It is in this regards that we initiated deliberate policies targeting women employment, women engagements in peace and security, and special focus on out-of-school children. We have reached advanced stage on domesticating the Child Rights Act and we are also engaging the Association for the physically challenged towards developing appropriate legislation that will combat discrimination and improve their living conditions. For the 2021 fiscal year, we earmarked the sum of Three Hundred and Eighty-Nine Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N389,500,000.00) for investment on Women Affairs and Social Development”.
In order to reposition the local government administration, we have come up with institutional reforms aimed at strengthening the local government system of which are these efforts which included the establishment of the Local Government Economic Planning Bureau and the passing of the Joint Project Development Agency Law.
These initiatives are intended to strengthen the operational base of the Local Governments in addition to their constitutional roles and responsibilities for the people.
While appreciating the roles of our Traditional and Religious Leaders in ensuring peaceful co-existence, the Governor his administration has also ensured smooth and seamless chieftaincy transitions in the State.
” We shall continue to work together for the socio-economic development of the people in the LGAs and the State”.
“To continue with these efforts, the sum of One Hundred and Thirty-Eight Million Naira (N138,000,000.00) is allocated for the Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs activities in the 2021 fiscal year”.
” Our administration gives adequate priority to the security of lives and property of the people of our State. This is because no economy can develop in an insecure environment. The Ministry of Internal Security and Ethical Orientation was established to strengthen our resolve in this direction. We are therefore determined to continue to embark on comprehensive internal security actions of ensuring the safety and security of the people of the State, safeguarding critical infrastructures, supporting the operations of the security agencies in the State and improving social engagement of the youths in sports, civic and socio-economic activities to reduce juvenile delinquencies, drug abuse and opportunistic crimes”.
While thanking God for the relative peace and security they enjoy in the State, he promised l continued support the security agencies and all relevant stakeholders in the maintenance of law and order in the communities.
“To continue with these efforts, the sum of Seven Hundred and Thirty Million Naira (N730,000,000.00) is allocated in the 2021 budget.”.
According to him, a good governance at all levels is critical for the success of any administration and with effective governance, the public has information and means to hold Government to account for delivering its services in the interest of the State.
” We shall continue to improve governance by entrenching transparency, fighting corruption, reinforcing security, reforming the public service and strengthening coordination within the public service and the other arms of Government.
For the General Administration sector, they plan to spend the sum of Three Billion, Nine-One Million, and Twenty Thousand Naira (N3,091,020,000.00) in the 2021 fiscal year.
For the effective dispensation of Justice, having a strong and effective judicial system cannot be overemphasized, this administration will continue to provide the enabling environment for the effective operations of the sector while the sum of One Billion, Three Hundred and Seventy-One Million, Four Hundred and Twenty Thousand Naira (N1,371,420,000.00) is provided in the 2021 budget to this sector.
This administration came on the heels of unprecedented economic challenges that were further worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic based on these challenges which affected the inflow of financial resources to the State and to its internal revenue generation drive, the administration is determined to ensure the utilization of its available financial resources prudently.
” It is in this regard that the administration is committed to improving accountability and transparency, improving internal revenue, rationalizing public expenditure, improving public financial management and ensuring debt sustainability. Some of our actions, which are ongoing include strengthening the Internal Revenue Service operations, setting realistic and achievable targets to improve internal revenue generation, compliance with the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), Publishing the Budget online annually, producing budget implementation performance quarterly, implementing the Single Treasury Account (TSA) and capturing all State civil servants and pensioners biometric data to eliminate payroll fraud and comply with the Fiscal Responsibility Law and reporting obligations”.
Implementing these measures may be painful in the short run, but the long-term benefits would be worth the pains, therefore, he urged all of themto be patient with the challenges the processes might cause. All MDAs, the civil servants and stakeholders are urged to cooperate with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and all other agencies that are responsible for implementing these reforms.
With the declining revenues from the oil sector, occasioned by the fall in the price of crude oil as well as the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to improve the internal revenue drive becomes pertinent and they shall continue to strengthen the operations of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for higher performance through improvement in its human and technical capabilities.
He urged the people of Gombe State to pay their taxes as at when due to complement Government efforts while the IRS should also come up with implementable strategies for internal revenue generation as well as blocking of leakages.
” We shall continue to partner with the House for the passing of legislations that will guide our efforts”.
For the effective coordination of the budget, planning and development cooperation and partnership, the budget should align with the development plan, and development partner’s resources should be properly captured and integrated into the plan.
. In view of that, they shall forward the plan, along with a plan sustainability bill for passage into law that makes implementation of the plan binding on any administration.
This, however, does not stop any administration from making reviews in line with prevailing circumstances.
The plan will have a robust monitoring and evaluation framework to track its implementation and to complement the domestic resources, the administration has worked tirelessly to secure the confidence of our Development Partners.
Those that have hitherto left, or are operating reluctantly are back and operating at full capacity. This was occasioned by the provision of the enabling environment, instilling their confidence and providing the required counterpart fund within the available resources.
“Our engagement with the UN-System, UNDP, UNICEF, UNIDO etc. Foundations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations, Mercy Corps, Save the Children, USAID, DFID, GAVI, the World Bank, AfDB and many others not mentioned here are yielding the desired results. As part of our administration’s commitment, the sum of N1.5Billion was paid as counterpart fund to various development assistance projects/programmes in the areas of Health, Education, Agriculture and Environment for the year 2020”
The challenges facing the North East sub-region in the area of insecurity and development calls for a closer and stronger cooperation within States in the region. To realize this aspiration, they convened the first ever North East Governors Forum meeting and this was to enable them collectively confront the various challenges facing the sub-region.
More so, the State is working towards ensuring that we benefit from the established North East Development Commission (NEDC) and they shall continue to strengthen the regional cooperation initiatives for the benefit of the State and the region.
The Civil Service plays a crucial role in the delivery of government policies and programs. Over the years, the civil service delivery has been relatively weak, with poor coordination and overlapping responsibilities, limited capacity, weak performance management system, and inadequate incentives. In addressing these challenges, his administration
set up the State Bureau for Civil Service Reform with the clear mandate to restructure and reposition the civil service for improved performance and service delivery.
“Because of our concern for the welfare of the civil servants both during active service and on retirement, we also ensured the regular payment of salaries, released the sum of N1.1Billion for payment of outstanding pensions and N550Million for the outstanding liabilities from the previous administrations up to 2015. We have also proactively engaged with the organized Labour and adopted the N30,000.00 minimum wage which we had started implementing before the circumstances brought about by COVID-19 forced us to reverse the implementation. We are determined to continue its implementation in the 2021 fiscal year for the benefit of our civil servants”.
Furthermore, as a demonstration of the confidence of the development partners in the reform efforts, the State was selected for the implementation of the USAID funded State2State programme via Development Alternatives Initiatives (DAI) to support our reform efforts of making service delivery efficient and accountable.
More so, to deepen the process, his administration set up and inaugurated a Reform Council chaired by himself and a Steering Committee with a view to giving teeth to the efforts to make Gombe State a model in service delivery.