BY CHARLES KUMOLU
SEVEN months since public officials in Kwara State were given the charge for enhanced performance, through Performance Contracting System of Governance,PCSG, there are indications that the policy seems to be surmounting the apprehension that greeted its introduction in the state public service.
WHEN Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed in January 2012, introduced the Performance Contracting System of Governance,PCSG, for Ministries, Departments and Agencies ,MDAs, in the state, not a few were apprehensive over the workability of the policy, given that the concept was alien to Nigeria’s public sector.
Despite the mixed feelings that trailed its introduction, the policy which basically entails improving the performance of public organisations and officials based on identified performance indicators, was embraced by all the MDAs in the state.
To ensure the success of the policy, Ahmed it would be recalled, directed his commissioners, permanent secretaries and heads of agencies to draw up quarterly work plans and critical success factors. Unlike in some states, where such schemes were abandoned after inauguration, the state government, it was gathered, did not go to bed as it constituted a committee in August to review the performance of MDAs in line with its Medium Term Sectoral Strategy ,MTSS.
Justifying the move, Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Isiaka Gold, said it was necessary to review the activities of its MDAs in order to enhance performance.
Though the committee is yet to submit its report, investigations by Vanguard, indicated that key ministries like Works and Transport, Education, Energy, Water Resources and Agriculture have made considerable progress towards the set objectives.
For example, further checks revealed that the Works and Transport Ministries have rehabilitated 900 kilometres of urban and rural roads including those inherited from the previous administration.
In addition, the government also intervened on federal roads in the state including the 14 kilometre Kulende-UITH Hospital Road, while works on Fate Road, Ilorin and Ajase-Ipo Offa Road are currently ongoing. Similarly, plans have been concluded for the rehabilitation of the Kishi-Kaiama Road at N6b, just as the Preventive Maintenance Policy, is getting rid of gullies on Ilorin roads through a monthly N30 million allocation to the Kwara State Road Maintenance Agency.
Relatedly, the government has moved closer to its target of 500 metre access to portable water with the provision of 180 boreholes across the state, rehabilitation of Pepele Waterworks which serves ten communities in Ilorin East Local Government, expansion of semi-urban/urban waterworks and the on-going second phase multi-billion naira Ilorin Water Reticulation Project.
In the education sector, the ministry has so far rehabilitated 200 blocks of secondary school classrooms, overhauled the Kwara State School for Special Needs, Ilorin and rehabilitated the ultra-modern Educational Resource Centre.
Another area where the PCSG appears to be making an impact, is the health sector where the administration has a target of 500-meter access to quality health care. Also, the rehabilitation of Ilorin, Offa, Omu-Aran, Share and Kaiama General Hospitals is near completion, while modern hospital equipments have been supplied to 13 General Hospitals and 33 Primary Health Centres.
Besides, the state government has also prioritised the energy sector, following the near 90 per cent implementation of budgeted capital expenditure for the Ministry of Energy. This has translated into 115 electricity projects comprising of rural and urban electrification, supply of transformers and provision of street lights in Ilorin metropolis.
It was further gathered that the progress being recorded by these ministries, are not unconnected with the peer review sessions organised at intervals by the state government.
Each session, findings revealed, was chaired by the Deputy Governor, Elder Peter Kisira, who reviewed the performance of the MDAs.
“This is a serious assignment and we treat it as such. Peer review meetings are our ways of ensuring high-performance in the public service and also motivating permanent secretaries as administrative heads of their ministries to continuously focus on achieving set targets and therefore accelerate the process of governance.
It is also an opportunity to identify any challenges and bring them to the governor’s attention for timely resolution, “ Kisira noted at one of the sessions.