FG will give priority to high employment generating sector – SGF

By Gabriel Elozino, Asaba

The Federal Government has said it will continue to give priority to high employment generating sectors, business improvement environment and youth development. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation(SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, disclosed this in his remarks at the 2nd Quarterly meeting of Secretary to Government of the Federation and Secretaries to State Governments held at the Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba.

According to Mustapha, social investment programmes will continue to be given the required attention, adding that the active support and collaboration of sub-national governments was very critical as we strive to resolve the present economic challenges of Nigeria.

He said the quarterly forum meeting strives to build the required synergy between the federal and state bureaucracies in order to enhance harmony and improve the relationship between the tiers of government. He noted that the forum provides an atmosphere for critical discussions and policy articulation, experience sharing, peer review and adaptations.

He said, “In addition, the feedback process is also in place where citizens participate to have a greater say in public decision-making as well as the desire by many governments to improve inclusivity and responsiveness led to calls for more openness in governance.

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“Pursuant to this, the federal government has been collaborating with an international transparency and accountability organization known as the Open Government Partnership [OGP] to ensure that budget planning, approval, implementation monitoring and reporting meet the needs of citizens and that citizens have open access to budget information in a format that is both human and machine-readable.

“To improve accountability and transparency of government procurement process through the implementation of open contracting and public participation in the public contracting process,” among others.

He encouraged state governments to key into the Open Government Partnership initiative to enhance transparency and accountability in governance.

“The sustainable development goals are being steadily implemented and substantial progress has been attained in a number of goals, as we work towards meeting the 2030 target, States are also encouraged to partner with the federal government in this area.

“I urge you to utilize the instrumentality of your office as the policy coordination hub of government to fast-track the initiation and implementation of policies and programmes, as well as harness, the various opportunities in key sectors of the economy, offered by the federal government to improve the lives and well-being of our people,” Mustapha stated.

Earlier in his welcome address, Delta State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, said that an effective democratic governance helps to advance sustainable development. He said the theme of the meeting “Democratic Governance and Sustainable Development in Nigeria: Opportunities in Key Sectors of the Economy” was apt as governments at all levels strive to strengthen democracy and make the idea real.

Represented by the Secretary to the State Government(SSG), Chief Patrick Ukah, Okowa commended Mr Boss Mustapha, for keeping faith with the cause of advancing the forum through continuous engagements with Secretaries to State Government.

He said public service provides incredible opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the people and urged them to use their privileged offices to improve the lives of the people in their respective states. According to him, the opportunity given to us to serve at this level of governance in the country places on us a very high sense of responsibility to deliver the dividends of democracy to our people.

“As you all know, this forum is a very stable platform to share ideas and compare notes on the implementation of national and sub-national policies and programmes of government. Opportunities in key sectors of the economy must be identified and exploited fully by all tiers of government to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

“Indeed democratic governance is paramount for the attainment of sustainable development and we must not lose sight of this focus. Therefore, we must uphold our democratic norms, deliberate deployment of political will and administrative expertise, values that hold us as a people and commitment in support of the attainment of sustainable development by the federal and state governments.

“We have come to listen, discuss and share ideas and to make useful contributions that will help us to achieve sustainable development for the country,” Okowa stated.

Keynote Speaker and former Head of Service of the Federation, Professor Oladapo Afolabi, said to ensure good governance, rule of law, social accountability, transparency and integrity, independence and high moral values must retake the centre stage. He charged all leaders to provide direction, maintain order and put the interest of the people above self, stressing that anything contrary will be counter-productive.

Other speakers spoke on ways that the federal government has been implementing its policies and programmes for the good of Nigerians as well as the economic potential of the nation.

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