Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State on Wednesday inaugurated the state Economic Planning Board (EPB) as part of efforts to spur development in rural areas.
El-Rufai said at the inauguration in Kaduna that the board would ensure effective coordination and preparation of local government development plans and budget to improve the people’s livelihood.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Barnabas Bantex, the governor said the state had already developed Local Government Planning and Budgeting Manual to guide local government officials in planning and budgeting process.
He explained that the goal of reforming local government system was to maximise the potential of local councils to deliver qualitative public service at the community level.
According to him, the step is taken to promote development at the grassroots by creating an autonomous, adequately funded, transparent and responsible local government system capable of delivering services to the people.
“Kaduna State Local Government Reform Law 2017 has mandated the LGAs to develop a culture of participatory governance by encouraging community members to participate in the preparation, implementation and review of development plans.
“These structural reforms are intended to give local governments a greater capacity for service delivery, promote development at grassroots and ensure policy alignment with the state and Federal Government policies.”
Also, the Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Muhammad Abdullahi, said the EPB would provide the needed platform for collaboration between the state and the local governments to use resources efficiently.
According to him, the EPB is established by law, based on the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended, and empowers LGAs to participate in development planning.
He said that EPB would allow the state and LGAs to plan and strategise in order to move the state forward and improve the lot of the people.
Abdullahi explained that the board had the Commissioner, and the Director of Planning in the state’s Planning and Budget Commission as the Chairman and secretary respectively.
According to him, other commissioners and heads of agencies are members.
He said that the EPB had the mandate to advise the governor on the development of local governments’ economy and measures necessary for efficient economic planning and budgeting.
“It will formulate studies and produce statistical data to reflect the orderly, progressive and planned economic growth of the state and ensure effective coordination in the preparation of LGAs annual and multi-year budgets.
“The Planning and Budget Commission is responsible for providing guidance and oversight on local government planning, budgeting and economic development.
“It will also ensure that local government plans and development issues are fully integrated at the state level to harness the resources of the LGAs for the maximum benefit of the people.’’