The Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, George Akume, on Wednesday, said that micro-enterprises will be established in the 774 Local Government Areas, LGAs, of the country.
The Minister disclosed this in Abuja at the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON, General Assembly with the Theme: Strategic Positioning for the Future: A New Era.
“As a ministry, we have proposed the establishment of Micro, Small and Medium enterprises in the 774 local governments in Nigeria based on economic corridors. We believe that this will create jobs and ensure improvement in the well-being of the local populace,’’ Akume said.
The minister, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Office of the Minister, Simon Tyungu, said that the establishment of the micro-enterprise was conceived to cushion the effect of the current economic situation.
Akume also applauded the role played by ALGON during the COVID-19 pandemic in bringing stimulus to the people at the grassroots in spite of their limited resources.
“The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has taken some bold steps to reposition the local government administration such as granting of local government autonomy and enforcement of democratically-elected local government councils by the states. This is a clear demonstration of political will by Mr. President. The COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged the entire country in 2020 was felt more in our local communities.
“The leadership of ALGON contributed in no small measure, particularly on stimulus packages and advocacy, notwithstanding your financial limitations,’’ he said.
The Minister emphasized that the Federal Government put measures in place knowing that the people could be reached through the local government area councils.
“The Federal Government in his wisdom then realized that the local government area councils are the veritable vessels through which the dividend of democracy will reach the vulnerable indigent citizens. Mr President (of ALGON), I urge you to take advantage of this initiative and key into President Muhammadu Buhari’s resolve to lead 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
“The Federal Government is favorably disposed to attaining this developmental goal.’’
The minister also congratulated the leadership of the association for the visionary and thoughtfulness to convene the general assembly.
He described the general assembly as the highest decision-making body of the association in the face of its struggle to place ALGON in its rightful position within the Nigerian polity as a local authority.
He also thanked ALGON, particularly the leadership, for the five years strategic framework development from 2021 to 2025 as envisioned.
In his remarks, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, assured ALGON of adequate support for local autonomy.
The speaker, who said the local government administrations in Nigeria were the closest to the people, urged them to be responsible for making decisions and providing services that ensured the quality of life for the Nigerian people.
According to him, until we fix local government administration in Nigeria, we will not be able to fully deliver on the promise of democratic governance in a way that allows us to achieve our country’s full potential.
“That is why I say you should make the outcomes of this assembly rich. And we will be there in the National Assembly to assist you. Therefore, this is the time to ensure that the question of how to get our local governments working is at the center of our national conversations about the future and promise of Nigeria. It is said that you cannot build something on nothing. If you don’t fix the local government administration, you will just go round and round. The National Assembly has begun reviewing and amending the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We intend for the current constitutional reform to be as thorough as it is comprehensive”, he said.
“The Nigerian people deserve a constitution that frees us to do what is necessary to effectively address the problems of national security and public finance, political administration, human rights, and our national economy.
“While we look to the future, we ought also to work to ensure our system functions efficiently within the legal and political limits that currently exist,’’ he added.
Gbajabiamila, who urged ALGON leaders to ensure they worked towards a culture of service and the practice of excellence, gave the assurance of legislative actions necessary to achieve their highest ambition for Nigeria.
“Local government leaders must at all times strive towards a culture of service and the practice of excellence. I assure you all that the 9th House of Representatives will not waiver from our commitment to take whatever legislative actions are necessary to achieve the highest ambitions we have for Nigeria. I assure you also that we are ready to work with the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON, and all stakeholders to fix local government administration in Nigeria once and for all,’’ he said.
The ALGON National President, Kolade Alabi, said that ALGON’s general assembly seeks devolution of powers, both financial and administrative, with concomitant fiscal devolution.
He added that it also craved complete autonomy for local government and area councils desirable for their effective administration and service delivery to the people.
He noted that such would require the “review of 1999 constitution as relates to local government administration and uniform tenure of 4-year term for local government administration among others.” (NAN)