At retreat: Kano Assembly reviews 3 bills, promises speedy passage

At retreat: Kano Assembly reviews 3 bills, promises speedy passage

Feature News

 …Government can win $4m World Bank SFTAS grant

 *As PERL, MNCH2 orient media managers on BHCPF 

 By Muhammad Hamisu Abdullahi 

At retreat: Kano Assembly reviews 3 bills, promises speedy passage

Kano State House of Assembly has received a draft of three public financial management bills from the executive for a review.

They are Public Procurement, Public Finance Management and the state Audit Bills 2019. In the exercise of this responsibility, the leadership of the House found it necessary to go through the draft bills before passing them into law in the state.

The job took the lawmakers all the way to Kaduna, the capital of Kaduna State, where they conducted thorough deliberations on the bills along side other stakeholders who participated at the review.

The DFID-Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) has taken charge of supporting the participation of citizens in the process in order to ensure inclusion.

That is why, in his goodwill message at the occasion, held between Friday and Saturday, December 20 and 21 this year, at Bafra Hotel, Kaduna, the State Team Leader of PERL, Malam Jibrin Ali Giginyu, said the body has been supporting all programmes of the government leading to accountability improvement in the state.

He said PERL had contributed to the success of the event as it supported participation of citizens groups to include civil society organizations, community based organizations, media, academia, traditional institution and professionals for more participatory and inclusive governance.

Giginyu said even last year, they supported such programme, stating further that they have been contributing to the governance process of the state, appreciating members of the House for leading the process themselves.

He urged the House to fast-track the process with a view to ensuring quick passage of the law in order to enable the state government to access the $4 million (US Dollars) grant from the World Bank through the bank’s States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme.

Declaring the retreat open on day one, the Speaker of the Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abdul’aziz Garba Gafasa said they were there to review the contents of the bills.

He said: “My dear participants, you may be aware that we converge here in Kaduna for the purpose of reviewing the content of the Kano State Public Finance Management Bill 2019, Kano State Public Procurement Bill 2019 and if time permits, Kano State Audit Commission Bill 2019.”

Gafasa thanked Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of the state for supporting the House to hold the event.

The Speaker similarly thanked the governor for providing enabling environment to ensure that reforms on public financial management came to stay in the state.

“I want use this opportunity to extend my deeply rooted appreciation to His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje for the support he had graciously given to the Honourable House to hold this retreat. “I want to also thank His Excellency, the Governor of Kano State for providing the enabling environment to ensure these reforms on public financial management come to stay in Kano State,” he added.

He promised to take into cognizance of the participants’ constructive inputs/observations with a view to incorporating them into the draft bills. “Accordingly, I want assure the participants that we will work hard with all seriousness to ensure passing these bills into laws as we go back to our plenary,” the Speaker told the gathering.

He explained that the passing of the bills into laws will not only enhance the state’s accountability and transparency ratings in the eyes of international community, but also adopt global best practice and further curb the evil of corruption, revamp the accounting and reporting of government financial transactions and deepen transparency in the management of public funds

. The Speaker told the participants that the three bills were sent to the House by Governor Ganduje on October 14 this year for its scrutiny, consideration and subsequent passage into law. He stated that currently all the three bills have passed the stage of first and second readings, assuring that the Assembly would continue to appreciate the support received from development partners, especially in the area of strengthening institutions in the state for them to carry out their duties effectively.

At retreat: Kano Assembly reviews 3 bills, promises speedy passage

Gafasa then thanked PERL for supporting some of the governance actors, professionals and civil society activists to join in the retreat and the State and Local Governance Reform (SLOGOR), a World Bank project, for its support towards the success of the exercise.

“We thank you most sincerely and we will continue to meet you in our further engagements.

“…..On behalf of the Honourable House, and by extension, the Kano State Government, I wish to reiterate our indebtedness to all other partners for showing sustained interests in our proceedings,” the Speaker said.

Sections by sections of the draft laws were reviewed with some portions even expunged to suiting the purposes. Such aspects include review of the debt management to suit the Commonwealth guidelines, while it was noted that among the 36 states of the federation, only Kano is having its debt management as a unit, instead of a department as obtained in other 35 states of the nation.

Some participants were in the belief that the retreat may be an exercise in futility if the Assembly refuses to fast-track the process to ensure speedy passage of the bills.

The retreat received participants from the state assembly, ministries of finance, planning and budget, justice; Offices of the state Accountant-General, Auditor-General; Due Process Bureau; CSOs; CBOs; media; academia; professional bodies and traditional institutions.

Meanwhile, DFID-Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), in collaboration with MNCH2 has conducted an orientation workshop on the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) for media managers in Kano State.

During the workshop, held between Tuesday and Wednesday, December 10 and 11, 2019 at Grand Central Hotel, Kano, participants were oriented on various aspects of the fund to include its overview, rationale, governing structures, roles and responsibilities of stakeholders at both federal and state levels – such as Federal Ministry of Health, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, National Health Insurance Scheme and State Steering Committees/State Ministry of Health, State Primary Health Care Management Board, Primary Health Care as well as roles and responsibilities of development partners and civil society organizations.

At retreat: Kano Assembly reviews 3 bills, promises speedy passage

Other areas the media managers were oriented on included Basic Minimum Packages of Healthcare Services, introduction to accreditation of health facilities, enrolment process into the fund, its financial management and road map for its implementation and disbursement among others.

In his presentation on Financial Management and Disbursement of the fund, the Finance Coordinator of MNCH2 in the state, Malam Ado Muhammad outlined some of the key points on the fund. Such points, he said, included sources of the fund, appropriation of its funding, state counter funding, utilization of the fund, designated accounts for stakeholders’ gateways, signatories of its account, payment models, administrative expenses, roll-over of excess fund, financial records and risk management among others.

He said the financial management and disbursement of the fund refers to processes across all gateways associated with the fund accumulation, pooling and disbursement for purchased services and designated operational and strategic initiatives. According to him, expected contribution into the fund shall be annual grant from the Federal Government amounting to not less than one per cent of its consolidated revenue fund and grants from donors, international partners and others who wish to either donate or contribute into the fund.

Malam Muhammad said each state of the federation should for a period of at least the first five years of the fund’s implementation in the state, make annual budgetary provisions and releases for operational expenses in PHC, adding that such releases should be paid into the state’s fund account at the CBN, after which the states are expected to take full ownership of providing facility operational budgets.

He explained that state should allocate at least 25 per cent matching grant as prescribed in the National Health Act (2014) and deposited in its fund’s TSA CBN domiciled account.

At retreat: Kano Assembly reviews 3 bills, promises speedy passage

He said the fund should be utilized primarily for three purposes, namely to pay for the provision of Basic Minimum Package of Health Services via the NHIS gateway; fund the operational expenses of Primary Healthcare Centres across the nation via NPHCDA gateway; and provide basic Emergency Medical Treatment, initially focused on Road Traffic Injuries (RTIs) arising from ‘accident hotspots’ across the nation and public health emergencies via EMT gateway.

These are few among many things highlighted to educate the media mangers on the fund at the event with emphasis that the aim of any primary healthcare is to bring care to the grassroots.

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