IN this era of recession, most government agencies, departments and ministries are experiencing hard times as they solely depend on federal or state allocations for their projects, salaries and other services to the citizens.
Surprisingly, the situation is different in Kwali Area Council of FCT where the proactive approach to governance and ingenuity of the Area Council Chairman, Mr. Joseph Shazin has enabled them to stay afloat, and meet basic obligations.
Having realised the difficulties associated with the current recession, mainly from the fact that federal government’s allocation to the council have dwindled, Shazin along with his team adopted several strategies aimed at generating revenue internally. The major reason is to supplement the meagre resources they receive on a monthly basis from the federation account.
To achieve this feat, the Kwali Area Council adopted several strategies, and one of them is to identify internal revenue sources. In doing this, market fees, business premises fees, liquor fees, sand drainages fees, forestry fees, environment fees, development and land fees are being charged and utilised for developmental purposes. Other areas they have identified towards rejuvenating the council’s economy include animal husbandry fees and health services fees.
Though they encountered initial challenges after the Honourable Chairman came with the innovative ideas, the decision of the area council to provide mobility for the revenue department towards enforcing the new policy has substantially improved compliance by residents of Kwali Area council as most remote areas are now accessible.
Similarly, in a bid to meet the target already set by the Honourable Chairman a deliberate effort was made to sensitise the residents on the need to support the internal revenue generation drive of the area council. Today, most of the residents have come to terms with the imperative of discharging their obligations to enable the area council reciprocate in the provision of basic amenities.
On assumption of power, Honourable Joseph Shazin demonstrated sufficient political will by reiterating the need for all the council personnel to redouble their efforts to raise the revenue profile of the area council. First, he ordered the renovation of the Kwali town hall and the resultant effect is increased patronage and revenue for the area council.
Apart from setting up a revenue generation committee, Honourable Shazin has ensured close and regular supervision of the revenue committee’s activities and this has enabled the council chairman not only to meet his target for the council, but is now well-positioned to deliver on his campaign promises to the Kwali residents.
Another unique approach adopted by the council is the involvement of the council’s senior personnel, including the elected councilors, in addition to the provision of adequate working tools for the implementation.
The willingness to utilise the internal revenue generating capacity of local governments has been a herculean task in the country, and with the single-minded effort of Honourable Shazin, Kwali Area council is now in the forefront of changing the dynamics.
In addition to his other initiatives, Honourable Shazin’s administration has established a timber market, cattle market at Yangoji, a mechanic village, and the totality of these efforts have led to a one hundred percent increase of the area council’s internally generated revenue between 2015 and 2016.
Therefore, it is remarkable, and indeed commendable that Kwali Area council under Honourable Shazin is a shining example for other local governments in Nigeria to emulate. By doing so, they will serve their various communities better.
It is important to state here that over the years, most local governments in Nigeria have become drain pipes that hardly fulfill their obligations to the citizens. Now with the leadership being provided by the Kwali council in showing the way, there is no further justification for other local government councils to fail in their responsibilities.
In a nutshell while the Kwali area council is feeling the impact of recession like other public institutions and Nigerians generally, the fact remains that the innovative policies of the Shazin administration has greatly helped to cushion the effects on the residents.
While the Kwali area council is feeling the impact of recession like other public institutions , the fact remains that the innovative policies of the Shazin administration has greatly helped to cushion the effects on the residents
*Mr. Chukwudi Enekwechi a public affairs analyst, wrote from Abuja.