As Commissioner of Finance
For the fact that I served the Dankwambo Administration in two capacities, I will give account of my performance in two segments:
- My contributions to the administration before my appointment as Commissioner of Finance, during which I served the Government for seven (7) months, and
- My stewardship as the Commissioner of Finance and member of the Gombe State Executive Council.
Contributions before Cabinet Appointment
When Governor Dankwambo was elected Governor of Gombe State, he asked me to be part of his team. I therefore worked in several committees during the advent of his administration for seven months. On 24th December 2011, he appointed members of his cabinet and made me Commissioner of Finance for Gombe State and member of the Gombe State Executive Council. A position I held into his second tenor till 2018.
Part of my contributions to the Governor Dankwambo Administration before my appointment as Commissioner of Finance included being part of his think tank for the conceptualization of his key projects. Some of these contributions included reviews of the State Government’s finances and projection of its revenue profile for the succeeding 4 years with a view to determining the financial resources available for development in order to guide the selection of the developmental projects to embark upon in fulfillment of the Governor’s campaign promises. Part of those projects included forging a partnership with Nigeria’s Bank of Industry to contribute to a pool of funds worth N500bn to support Small- and medium-scale enterprises, which ultimately led to the clustering of Rice and Groundnut millers in an industrial estate in the State that today produce more than 70% of the groundnut oil needs of North Eastern Nigeria and a significant quantity of the polished rice it consumes.
I supported His Excellency the Governor in presiding over a participator planning initiative that convene the erudite sons and daughters of Gombe State from all nooks and crannies to review all sectors of the economy with a view to making recommendations on how Gombe State should be governed during the next 10 years and above. I chaired the Economic Development sub-Committee that developed the blueprint for implementation of the administration’s economic agenda. Later, as the Commissioner of Finance, I became responsible for breaking down these recommendations into implementable chunks and integrating them into budgetary provisions of the respective implementing Ministries, Departments and Agencies within the context of our Medium-Term Expenditure, macroeconomic, and revenue frameworks.
Contributions as Commissioner of Finance
On my appointment as Commissioner of Finance for Gombe State in December, 2011, I became responsible for managing the revenues and expenditure of the State on daily basis. I was charged with the responsibility for overseeing the State Treasury managed by the State’s Accountant General and a pool of Accounting staff, the State Board of Internal Revenue under an Executive Chairman, which we restructure to now include Executive Directors managed by a retinue of revenue officers, as well as a wholly owned private limited liability company for investment and property development under a Managing Director, which we also restructured to include Executive Directors.
In addition to those subsidiaries, I recommended the creation of another Government wholly owned private Leasing Company to support the State Government’s initiatives for industrialization and promotion of entrepreneurship. Although the company failed to get the requisite funds it needed, it significantly supported Government’s youth empowerment programs. It provided jobs to more than 3,800 active entrepreneurs. It acquired and provided 295 assorted commercial vehicles to members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria on financial lease and 200 tractors distributed to commercial farmers in the State. It acquired 550 tricycles, 6 lathe machines, 6 oil extractors, and 50 bakery equipment under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Micro-, Small-, and Medium-scale Enterprises funding scheme for distribution to youth entrepreneurs under an empowerment program we tagged “Talba Empowerment Scheme”.
Under the Talba Empowerment Scheme, my ministry sourced funds and provided additional working capital to 2,500 traders and granted support for farming and productivity expansion to 4,600 peasant farmers to the tune of N850m
I led the floatation of a N30bn infrastructure bonds for the State government from which we drew N25bn in two tranches, a funding source that served as the fulcrum for the massive infrastructure projects prosecuted by the Dankwambo Administration across the State. The fund was mostly used for a) schools construction and renovation; b) Township and Regional Roads covering 1,575 kilometers of tarred and asphalted roads, including long span bridges, gully erosion control, traffic signals, streetlights, and varying forms of street furniture; c) tertiary education infrastructure including establishment of a Collage of Education, a State Polytechnic, a Collage of Legal and Islamic Studies, as well as a School of Basic and Remedial Studies recently upgraded to a University of Science and Technology; d) Construction of brand new Collage of Nursing & Midwifery; and e) such revenue-generating assets like the 3,000-seat International Conference Center, an Articulated Tucks Garage, and a Mega Morton Park.
In order to promote transparent planning and accountable projects implementation and to establish a sustainable public finance, management structure, I contributed to the drafting of the State’s Fiscal Responsibility Law, which was passed by the State House of Assembly and signed by the Governor into law in April 2012. This legislation fundamentally changed our budgetary process by making it more economically relevant, transparent, and participatory as we allowed increased community participation as NGOs and CSOs are allowed to contribute to budget formulation and execution.
My contributions to strengthening public finance management in the State included establishment of Budget and Debt Management Offices in the Ministry of Finance aimed at professionalizing the State’s budgetary processes and ensuring sustainable debt management. I also contributed to the domestication of the National Pension Reform Act to migrate the State from defined-benefits to defined-contributory pension scheme intended at reducing the burden of retirement benefits on government budgetary provisions and guaranteeing full funding of pension schemes in the State.
In 2013, I led the State to migrate from line budgeting to the nationally adopted International Public Sector Accounting System (IPSAS) format to allow for comparability using the national chat of accounts. We achieved the development of a bespoke budgeting software that allowed the codification of the chat of accounts and the programming of CAPEX budget heads and sub heads to capture the codes defining their individualized objectives, function, location, and funding sources. The codification of the entire process makes the integration of the other components of public finance management such as Treasury, Debt Management, Automated Internally Generated Revenue, and Vendor/Contract Management functions with the budgetary module seamless and interoperable. This initiative did not only advance the course of public finance management but also saws the seed for fiscal sustainability for the State in support of the local economy.
I oversaw the automation of the State Government’s revenue generation processes, which culminated in the promulgation of a new law for revenue administration in the State, establishment of a centralized revenue collection platform, and commencement of an enumeration exercise aimed at bringing 100,000 entities in the State’s informal sector within the tax net. As a result of this initiative, we withdrew the issuance of hard copy revenue receipt, instituted automated billing system, and created convenience to taxpayers by allowing them to pay taxes using any payment platform they find easy to use. The centralized IGR system significantly plugged leakages and improved revenue collection efficiency.
In order to consolidate the State Government’s revenue generating assets, which had been contributing only little revenues to the coffers of Government, I recommended the establishment of yet another government wholly owned private limited liability company charged with the responsibility for optimizing earnings from existing revenue-generating assets owned by the Government to be managed by a competitively selected private Management Company. This innovation is aimed at enabling the State Government benefit from the efficiencies of the private sectors in maximizing the revenue potential of the managed assets. Under the plan, any of the assets needing enhancement or upgrade will raise the required funds using Corporate Revenue Bonds that shall be tied to the projected strings of earnings accruing from the respective assets under management. The management of the assets will in turn be concessioned to competent, professional managers who will be held responsible and accountable for the realization of the projected revenues.