To ensure continuous running of various organs of governance, completion of ongoing projects and sustenance of the provision of public utilities amidst scarce resources, the present FCT Administration embraced a policy of prudence in the management of scarce resources. The policy has resulted in better living conditions for residents at all levels: the city, satellite towns and grassroots.
Consequently, the FCT Area Councils have continued to serve as models for emulation to their counterpart local governments across the country.
Among the milestones recorded in the Area Councils under the Muhammad Musa Bello Administration are:
1. IMPROVEMENT IN THE BUDGETARY AUTONOMY OF THE FCT AREA COUNCILS.
The Administration has not tampered with the allocations of the Area Council. It releases 100 percent of all statutory allocations to the Area Councils from the Federation Account.
In addition, it releases 10 percent of FCT Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to the Area Councils in compliance with constitutional provisions to this effect.
Thus far the Administration has shared nearly 14 Billion to the Area Councils through the Joint Accounts Allocation Committee – JAAC within the period under review.
It also gave a bailout fund of N1.9 Billion to the six Area Councils for the payment of arrears of salaries owed staff before the inception of the Administration (January – March, 2015), thus averting a crippling industrial action embarked by Area Council workers.
These have resulted in a positive ripple effect on the welfare of FCT grassroots population, employment generation and wealth redistribution, thus significantly eliminating extreme poverty and the likelihood of youth restiveness.
2. ELECTIONS INTO AREA COUNCILS
Election were conducted into the six Area Councils last year, which was adjudged free and fair by a large segment of the media as well as election observers.
Elected officials were promptly sworn-in following which leadership training courses were conducted for them in both Abuja and the Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) at Kuru near Jos, to build capacity and start the new leaders on a sound footing.
3. DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP IN INFRASTRUCTURE AND PUBLIC UTILITIES WITH AREA COUNCILS.
It has worked out a comprehensive urban renewal programme to commence soon in the satellite towns and suburbs after achieving a significant progress on major ongoing projects in the city.
Secured approval of N2.6 Billion from the Federal Executive Council for upgrade of Karu township roads.
Mobilized 43 cooperative societies for participation on the CBN N220 Billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Development Fund.
Mobilized 350 participants across the six Area Councils for the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP).
4. MEASURES TO ACHIEVE CLEANER AND HEALTHIER FCT COMMUNITIES.
Developed a sustainable Waste Collection and Disposal Model for the FCT Area Councils.
Launched Community Based Sanitation Campaigns in the six Area Councils, with the participation of the Honourable Minister himself.
We might not be where we want to be yet, but definitely remarkable progress has been made in the area of environmental sanitation.
5. ENHANCED PEACE AND SECURITY
Over 37 cases of looming threats to peace and security resulting from internecine chieftaincy disputes and potential communal clashes have been nipped in the bud.
Administration has stemmed the proliferation of chieftaincy titles by placing suspension on the deposition, installation, turbanning and upgrading of district heads and traditional leaders in FCT communities.
Mobilized and sensitized FCT communities towards community policing.
6. MEASURES TO ACHIEVE EASE OF DOING BUSINESS IN THE FCT AND ITS AREA COUNCILS.
Intervention to stem likely chaos in disparate tenement rate assessment and enforcement standards in the various Area Councils with a view to achieving a harmonized template across the Territory.
Intervened to ensure harmony in taxation bylaws and eliminate multiple taxation in the different Area Councils with a view to improving ease of doing business in the FCT.
Closed down Zonal Land Offices in the Area Councils to ensure strict compliance with the law in land administration.
Set up online real-time interface between the Department of Development Control and AGIS to fast-track building plans approvals for prospective developers.
7. AGRICULTURAL AND SAFETY NET PROGRAMMES
Over 9000 FCT farmers are to benefit from the CBN Anchor borrowers programme.
Strengthened the One Village One Product scheme designed to help identified villages built capacity in the growing of selected cash crops to improve quality, increase revenue and build strong value chain. Products already selected include shea butter for Rimba and Nuku; cassava for Chikuku and Kwali, and fish processing for Guito in Bwari Area Council. This has led to the creation of over 300 jobs in the pilot communities and economic empowerment for the rural folks.
We believe that with time, FCT will be a leader in rural transformation in the country and beyond given the innovative, passionate and silent strides of the present Administration.