The 36 state legislative arms of government’s presiding officers under the aegis of Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria (CSSLN) met in Abuja on Tuesday to garner basic knowledge on the implementation of financial autonomy at state level.
The meeting, which took place in Abuja at a workshop organised by the Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) in collaboration with the Friends of Democracy in Nigeria and CSSLN, was attended by the Clerks of the State Houses of Assembly.
The CSSLN chairman and Speaker of Kebbi State House of Assembly, Abdulmumin Ismail Kamba, in his welcome remarks, expressed pleasure over the workshop on the implementation of financial autonomy for the State Houses of Assembly and strategies for its effective implementation.
Kamba, who expressed gladness over the granting of financial autonomy to state legislature in Nigeria, said good governance would only be guaranteed by quality legislation, effective representation and independent oversight function by state legislature.
He said, “I am glad to inform my colleagues that the much desired Financial Autonomy for State Legislature in Nigeria has been achieved. And as you all know, the battle for the financial autonomy for State Legislature has not been an easy one. The ultimate goal of which is good governance which would be guaranteed by quality legislation, effective representation and independent oversight function by State Legislature.
“Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, the accomplishment of this noble goal is however dependent on how effective and efficient the implementation of the new law in our respective States is carried out. Implementing the constitution according to its letter and spirit will be a major step forward in strengthening our democracy particularly at the grass root.”
Kamba said the workshop was organized to, among other things, provide opportunity for the National Assembly to share experiences with the State Houses of Assembly on how financial autonomy was being implemented in the National Assembly and lessons learnt in the process.
He stated that the event was also meant to develop mechanisms, frameworks and systems within the Houses that will enhance effective utilisation of the accruing fund for the development of the legislature.
The CSSLN chairman added that it would help to develop strategies for engagement with the executive arm of government and other stakeholders for a seamless and timely implementation of financial autonomy.
The Speaker of Kebbi State House of Assembly said the workshop also provided a platform for participants to build consensus on the concept and application of financial autonomy for the legislature across the State Houses of Assembly.
He said that the leadership and the management of the National Assembly were invited to share their experiences on how best they could strengthen democracy with the financial autonomy at the state level because of the success recorded.
Kamba appealed to his colleagues and all the participants to use the knowledge gained at the workshop for the development of the nation.
He thanked PERL for its efforts and support it gave and still giving the speakers and the State Houses of Assembly while the review of the constitution lasted, he
PERL, he said, played a key role by facilitating a number of roundtable discussions and workshops among the state lawmakers with a view to further making them understand the rudiments and nitty-gritty in the process of amending the constitution.