By Patience Ogbodo Correspondent, Bauchi
A Bauchi-based non-governmental organisation, Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), has called for the streamlining of the composition of the councils established under the Public Procurement and Fiscal Responsibility laws of Bauchi State.
The Executive director of CITAD, Mallam Ya’u Zakariya Ya’u, stated this during a press conference at NUJ secretariat, Bauchi, noting that some provisions of the two laws have to be amended by Executive bills to be sent to the state House of Assembly for the purpose of the amendments.
Ya’u called on the Bauchi State government to immediately commence the processes of the review and amendment of the two laws by sending bills to the state House of Assembly for the amendments.
He described as outrageous the 30 membership composition on each of the councils established under the two laws, saying that such councils established under similar laws enacted by the federal government were each composed of only 12 members who were mainly civil servants and technocrats unlike the inclusion of politicians as in the case of Bauchi.
He noted that Bauchi was one of the first states in the federation to have domesticated both the Fiscal Responsibility and Public Procurement laws which would have made it to claim leadership position in that regard.
He said: “Bauchi State needs to reclaim the initiative by acting quickly to address the amendment of the two laws and get them fully implemented.” Ya’u also called on the state House of Assembly to initiate a speedy process for consideration of the amendment to the two laws, saying the press is paying more than casual interest in the implementation of the laws and to the general development profile of the state.
He said the state government should commit itself to the full and effective implantation of both the Public Procurement and Fiscal Responsibility laws through the constitution of procurement and fiscal responsibility units as provided in the two laws.
He also called the Bauchi State government to direct all MDAs to set up their procurement offices, appoint procurement coordinators and set up necessary procurement sub-committees of their tender boards, saying: “Government should also print and circulate the Public Procurement and Fiscal Responsibility laws to government officials and to the wider public so as to ensure that officials and citizens know and understand the intentions of these laws.”
He then stressed the need for the state government to develop framework and mechanisms for consultative processes in budget making process so that ordinary citizens could be able to offer their perspectives on how their needs could be addressed.
Other demands of CITAD to the state government included the respect for the autonomy of local government councils to provide them with space to carry out their programmes and activities on the basis of community felt needs and in accordance with constitutional provisions.
He therefore called on the Bauchi State government to mainstream gender and disability in all development processes, especially through economic and political empowerment and appropriate affirmative action for women.