Communique issued at the end of a two-day workshop for selected staff of Port Harcourt City Local Government Council in Rivers State
The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) with support from Bread for the World – Protestant Development Service, organized a two-day workshop for selected staff of Port Harcourt City Local Government Council in Rivers State from Wednesday 24th – Thursday 25th September, 2014 at Aldgate Congress Hotels, Port Harcourt. The workshop with the theme “Building Capacity for Effective Service Delivery at the Local Government level” was held in pursuance of the Strengthening Oil Revenue Management in Niger Delta Project phase 2, and used to train participants on the following thematic areas;
• Participatory budgeting as a tool for the democratization of the budgeting process at the Local Government Level
• The concept of good governance and the extractive industry in Nigeria
• Introduction to monitoring, evaluation and reporting (MER) and how to used MER to track result at Local Government Level
The workshop was attended by 18 participants comprising resource persons and staff of Port Harcourt City Local Government Council drawn from the Departments of Finance, Budget, Administration, Planning, Agriculture, Education as well as Valuation Unit.
At the end of the workshop, the following were observed:
• That Port Harcourt City Local Government Council recently adopted the International Public Sector Accounting Standard but that the new accounting package has not fully implemented;
• That some local government projects suffer set back as a result of poor planning and execution and this has impacted negatively on grass root development to the detriment of the people;
• That local government areas in Rivers State practice high level of participatory budgeting and have budget committees in place responsible for the monitoring of the budgetary process but the committee does not work effectively in some local government areas;
• That effective monitoring, evaluation and reporting is key to preparing the local councils for the next stage of planning to capture the real needs of the people which in turn aids development;
• That the high level of corruption in all facets of the society has been a major hindrance to good governance and sustainable development in most local government areas of Nigeria, and;
• That the absence of continuity in government policies and project is responsible for lack of progress in the sustainable development of Nigerian communities.
In the light of the above, participants resolved as follows:
• That the Port Harcourt City Local Government Council should fully implement the International Public Sector Accounting Standard which the Council recently adopted.
• That there is need for local government councils to engage in proper planning and execution with the peoples’ need adequately captured as this will ensure that more developmental projects are delivered to the people at the grassroots.
• That Local Government Councils nationwide should deepen their partnership and collaboration with relevant stakeholders including Civil Society and the media, to promote transparency and accountability in the management of resources;
• Local Government Council should strengthen their monitoring and evaluation departments as this will put the Council in a better position to properly report their activities;
• Local Government Councils should consider the regular training and re-training of their staff to improve their capacity for effective service delivery;
• Local Government Councils should put machineries’ in motion to ensure the continuity of policies and projects as this will promote sustainable development.
Participants expressed gratitude to ANEEJ and Bread for the World for considering them worthy to benefit from such an important workshop and urge them to consider replicating the workshop for highly place political office holders who are directly involved in the management of resources.
Worlu Wobo, Admin Officer, Port Harcourt City Local Government Council)
Swithin Ogolo, Planning Unit, Port Harcourt City Local Government Council
Hope Ajinwo, Budget Department, Port Harcourt City Local Government Council)
Kponeh Peter M., Finance Department, Port Harcourt City Local Government Council)
Innocent Edemhanria, Programme Officer, Africa Network for Environment and Economic