Ahead of the expiration of the tenure of Local Government Chairmen, the Kwara State Government has vowed to sanitize the local government system in the state in order to make the third tier of government viable and self-sustaining.
The State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, made this commitment during a meeting with 2013-2016 local government councillors at the Government House in Ilorin, the state capital. The Councillors had visited to appeal for the payment of their furniture allowance before the end of their tenure.
Alhaji Ahmed said the current recession and the apparent inefficiencies in the third tier of government have made it imperative to reform the management of local councils in the state in order to ensure that they can meet their obligation to the people, especially in terms of salaries and low-level development projects.
The governor noted that by the time elections are held into the Councils, the local governments would have been made fit for purpose through the ongoing IGR reforms and the biometric verification of staff.
He assured them that once the economic situation in the country improves and the government receives expected revenue inflows, the local government councils would pay the councillors and others the statutory allowances and entitlements due to them.
Alhaji Ahmed stressed that current financial challenges in the councils cannot support the bulk payment of all outstanding payments, emphasizing that payments can at best be in installments once the revenue situation permits.
He expressed concern about the salary arrears owed local council workers and the political office holders, which he described as an unfortunate situation and expressed optimism that the situation will soon be remedied.
Stressing that political office is by nature a time-bound call to service, Governor Ahmed urged the outgoing councillors to key into the State government’s SME scheme so as to continue to earn sustainable living after leaving office.
Present at the meeting were the representatives of the councils from local government councillors in the state, Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Isiaka Gold, Chief of Staff, Alhaji Babatunde Abdulwahab, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Haruna Muhammed, Special Adviser, Security, Alhaji Amusa Bello, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and the Senior Special Assistant, Government House, Alhaji Kayode Ibrahim