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Ease Of Doing Business: As Gov Yahaya Blazes The Trail In Governance

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By Ismaila Uba Misilli

After two years in the saddle, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya has recorded many firsts in governance and has bagged many awards, including Man of the Year from four different Newspapers in different sectors. Under his watch, Gombe State however added yet another first recently when it was adjudged the best in Ease of Doing Business by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).

The Council, headed by the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, is a status report podium on the current attractiveness of states’ business climates for small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).

Gombe is followed by Sokoto, Jigawa and Akwa Ibom States which ranked 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively. This subnational survey methodology framework was developed by the PEBEC-NEC Technical Working Group comprising representation from six states embodying the six geopolitical zones, the NEC (National Economic Council) Secretariat, Nigerian Governors Forum, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, the Nigerian Summit Group and other private sector representatives.

Since his assumption of office at a time the economy of the state, and indeed that of the country in general, was already struggling to stay afloat in the murky waters of economic doldrums, Governor Yahaya’s exceptional business acumen which accounted for his phenomenal success in his private businesses has been brought to bear in the governance of Gombe.

Although he inherited a humongous debt profile left behind by the immediate past administration in the State, Inuwa Yahaya was undaunted having overturned several challenging situations like that in the past and always making huge successes out of all.

It was definitely a dire situation for Gombe State, considering its low-standing Internally Generated Revenue IGR status and its unfavourable position as second to the last State on the nation’s statutory allocation log.

But no sooner Governor Yahaya settled down to tackle these problems head on than the novel Coronavirus Pandemic set in, destroying literally global economies, particularly Nigeria’s ailing economy to which Gombe State is an integral part of. As it were elsewhere, this pandemic brought to a complete halt the attention of the Gombe State government on other sectors of the economy in order to channel all energy and resources towards containing the virus.

Today,the story is different as a great deal of the challenges associated with the novel Coronavirus Pandemic have since been addressed brilliantly by Governor Muhammadu Inuwa bringing back to reckoning, the social, infrastructural and economic vision and mission his administration has for the State.

To this end, Governor Inuwa Yahaya has triggered a robust 10-year Development Plan otherwise known as Development Agenda for Gombe – DEVAGOM.

This plan is basically aimed at positioning the State as a beacon for socio-economic infrastructural and cultural development, while making Gombe State a destination haven for investors.

To achieve these lofty initiatives contained in the plan, the APC administration in Gombe State came up with an ambitious project known as the “Network 11-100” which targets the construction of at least one hundred kilometres of road in each of the eleven Local Government Areas of State because it is the conviction of the Governor that road network plays a pivotal role in opening up a society for economic growth and development. Also, in its firm belief that health is wealth and a healthy nation is a wealthy nation, the Gombe State government wasted no time in embarking on the construction and revitalization of Primary Health Care Centres, PHCs across the 114 political wards of the State. This is in addition to the complete overhaul and upgrade of the State Specialist hospital Gombe. Today every ward in the State can boost of a functional PHC operating 24 hours with the compliment of solar system to generate energy at the facility and boreholes to supply water.

On the transport sector, the administration of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya on coming into office approved the procurement of 50 Toyota Hummer buses to be used by the Gombe state transport service, known as Gombe Line. The immediate approval for the procurement of the buses came at the heat of public outcry on condition of the Gombe line buses. However, the State owned Transport Company is currently doing credibly well, providing services to commuters travelling to different parts of the country.

In the same vein, the Gombe State government, under the leadership of Governor Inuwa Yahaya, embarked on a sweeping and wide ranging reform to block financial leakages, ensure prudence in Government spending as well as breaking all forms of administrative bottlenecks in the system. From the establishment of the Gombe Geographic Information Systems ( GOGIS) in an effort to digitize, manage land matters effectively to the new tax regime in the state.

Perhaps, the above measures and other world class business models introduced by the ebullient and effervescent Governor Inuwa Yahaya made Gombe to outclass other states on the Ease of Doing Business medal table.

It is not surprising at all to see Inuwa Yahaya giving tacit encouragement and support to small and medium scale industries. The Gombe State Government has reorganised the Gombe industrial cluster in BCGA by providing them access to financial services and building infrastructure such as road networks to ease the movement of goods and services in the area.

The political sagacity cum economic dexterity of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya can be better appreciated in his conceptualisation of the Gombe Industrial Park in Dadinkowa Yalmatu Deba Local Government Area of the State. The Industrial Park is standing on a 1000 hectres of land with the compliment of 40-megawatt hydroelectricity in Dadinkowa Dam. The industrial Park is expected to revolutionise the agricultural sector which is the main occupation of the State.

Furthermore, Inuwa Yahaya has been able to sustain a relative peace and tranquility uncommon in the North East of Nigeria. This relative peace is perhaps the most fundamental factor that placed the State at a vantage position to be ranked first in the country with the favourable conditions for doing business.

All these efforts by the APC led Government in Gombe State aptly captured the parameters used by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) and won the committee’s heart.

This subnational survey methodology framework was developed by the PEBEC-NEC Technical Working Group comprising representation from six states embodying the six geopolitical zones, the NEC (National Economic Council) Secretariat, Nigerian Governors Forum, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, the Nigerian Summit Group and other private sector representatives.
PEBEC has developed a homegrown indicators used in the survey which are; infrastructure and security, transparency and access to information, regulatory environment and skills and workforce readiness.
Each state was rated on a ten-point scale across the indicators, which provided the basis for calculating the overall performance of the state. The field survey was conducted by KPMG Professional Services between November 2020 and January, 2021.

The survey captured the reforms baseline enabling each state’s Ease of Doing Business Council to craft their own reform agenda and implementation roadmap based on empirical data and feedback from a cross section of 998 SMEs across the 36 states and the FCT.
A breakdown of the result showed that on security, Gombe scored 5.86 in Electricity, 5.86 in Transportation, Primary Healthcare 7.50 and Security, 7.99, with an average score of 6.80.
In Transparency and Access to Information, the state scored 9.35 in Investment Promotion and 8.69 in State Information Structures, with an average score of 9.02.
In regulatory environment, it scored 5.75 in paying taxes, 8.21 in Starting a Business, 6.44 in Enforcing Contracts and 7.64 in Land, Property Acquisition and Development. Its average was 7.01.

In Skill and Labour, Gombe scored 7.94 in Technical and Professional Skills. The cumulative average of the state was 7.69, shooting it to the top of the list of states with the best enabling environment for doing business in the country.

Like Dr. Ibrahim Hameed noted in a recent article, that the ease of doing business survey was an indication of the suitability and attractiveness of a state to both local and international investors, implying that the more the state improves its business regulatory environment the more it attracts investment and achieve sustainable growth, creates jobs and reduces poverty which results in the rise in standard of living of the state populous which is a key in delivering the dividend of democracy and good governance.

Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya had while reacting to the development, attributed the attainment of the feat to a clear demonstration of his administration’s commitment to good governance which has culminated in comprehensive reforms in land administration, financial management, revenue administration and the massive infrastructural development that are critical to doing business.

“Noteworthy is the drastic reduction in transaction time for processing land title and ease of payment of taxes as captured in the harmonised Gombe State revenue law. In addition, the clear and purposeful drive in vocational and technical education, as well as support to SMEs, have ensured the upgrading of the skills of the youthful population of Gombe State”, he said.

The Governor assured citizens of Gombe of his determination to sustain the tempo, while acknowledging the hard work by the public service in making these achievements happen. He expressed belief that the successes recorded so far are also part of the dividend of his administration’s comprehensive reforms in the civil service.

With the tempo of hard work and massive support enjoyed presently by the Inuwa Yahaya administration it is quite clear that sooner than later, more national and International recognitions are on the way of the Governor and the Jewel in the Savannah.

– Misilli is Director-General, Press Affairs, Government House, Gombe

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Hon Isa Appreciates Gov Fintiri For Observing Eid-El-Kabir Prayer In Shelleng

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Principal Special Assistant to Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri on Water and Sanitation, Hon. Abubakar Isa has commended Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, CON for leading other top government functionaries in observing 1445 (2024) Eid El kabir in Shelleng.

The PSA who joins thousands of Muslim Ummah in observing the 2 Raka’at Prayer, appreciated the Governor, SSG, Speaker, Leadership of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and other top government functionaries for marking this year’s Sallah in the historic ancient city of Shelleng.

Marafa, in a message through his Shelleng media office to appreciate the Governor, further congratulated him and members of the State Executive Council, the speaker and other members of the 8th Assembly, leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at all levels and his teeming supporters on the occasion of the 2024 Eid-El-Kabir Sallah Celebration.

He also extended his sallah message to Amnah Shelleng Dr. Abdullahi Isa Dasong the II and other members of the Adamawa State Council of Emirs and Chiefs and the Entire Muslim Ummah

Marafa, said “a strict adherence to the teachings of Islam in the areas of love, peaceful coexistence as well as tolerance will contribute towards the development of the State and Nigeria as whole.”

“I want to wish the people of Shelleng local government, the State and the country as a whole a happy Eid Mubarak. May Allah strengthen us to submit to His wish and command at all times,” He added.

SAHEL REPORTERS.

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NUC Approves 43 Academic Programmes For Federal University Kashere

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By Tom Garba, Yola

National Universities Commission (NUC) has approved all 43 academic programs presented for certification during the October/November 2023 accreditation exercise of Federal University Kashere.

This development was made known in a press release signed by the University’s public relations officer, Mrs Janet Ibrahim Ezekiel and presented to this medium today.

NUC approval document with the reference number NUC/ES/412/VOL.14/327, which was addressed to Prof. Umaru A. Pate, Vice Chancellor of the university with the caption, “Result of the October/November 2023 Accreditation of Academic Programmes in Nigerian Universities.

This indicated that in line with the provision of section 10 (1) of the Education (National Minimum Standard and Establishment of Institutions) Act CAP E3. Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, the commission organized the Accreditation of academic programs at the Federal University of Kashere in October/November and accredited all 43 academic status

Among the programs listed were postgraduate programs presented for accreditation, as well as some existing undergraduate programs presented for re-accreditation, and others were newly established programs presented for initial accreditation, all of which were approved, with no programs denied accreditation.

According to the results, out of the 43 programs offered, all four (4) postgraduate programs received accreditation status, 32 undergraduate programs received full accreditation, and 7 other undergraduate programs received interim accreditation status.

” It is important to note that any Postgraduate Programme with Accredited Status and Undergraduate Programme with Full Accreditation will remain valid for five (5) years after which they will be presented for re-accreditation, whereas those with Interim Accreditation Status will be valid for two (2) years before being re-accredited.

“You may be aware that the Federal University of Kashere offers 98 academic programs, 49 at the postgraduate and undergraduate levels. It is also worth noting that all 49 Postgraduate Programmes have been authorized and recognized; 42 Undergraduate Programmes have Full Accreditation Status, while the remaining seven (7) Undergraduate Programmes have Interim Accreditation Status.” The statement said

In response to the latest development, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Umaru A. Pate, thanked Allah for the good conclusion and congratulated all staff participating in the accreditation process, calling it a communal achievement. While promising to work toward solidifying the achievement, the Vice Chancellor also requested additional cooperation from the entire University personnel in his efforts to convert the University into a true fortress of learning.

It should be noted that the Vice Chancellor, upon taking office on February 11, 2021, pledged to strengthen the University’s academic standards and quality assurance as one of his administration’s six priorities, as seen by the outcomes of this accrediting exercise.

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Cleric Advocates Educational Reform In Nigeria, Berates Change In National Anthem

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Reverend Father Maurice Kwairanga, the Parish Priest of Saint Charles Lwanga Catholic Church, Ngurore is emphasizing the need for educational reform in Nigeria, rather than just changing the national anthem.

He believes that the energy spent on changing the anthem could have been better spent addressing the issues in the education system, such as decay in public schools and institutions.

The priest said this during a mass to commemorate Saint Charles Lwanga Day and also unveiled a learning institute to address the decaying standard of education across the country.

He said it is worrisome that structures in public schools are now death traps, and unqualified teachers are now mentors of the younger generation.

He said the church has taken the initiative to establish a new school, Saint Charles Lwanga Nursery, primary school, and college, to contribute to improving education in the country.

“We will build a world-class school in this part of Nigeria. As a church, we might not have the funds at the moment, but we have the will to do it. The Saint Charles Lwanga Nursery and Primary will have all the modern teaching equipment and qualified teachers, unlike what is obtainable in the public schools”

His message highlights the importance of prioritizing education to drive meaningful change and development in Nigeria.

As a church leader, he lent his voice in calling for patriotic Nigerians to invest in education by supporting initiatives that will strengthen the sector and improve the standard of education.

Highlights of the Saint Charles Lwanga Day in Ngurore were traditional dances from different communities.

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