Niger State Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Bar. Maurice Magaji, has said that as part of the present administration's drive to hasten its urban renewal programme, any plot of land allocated over a period of two years that is yet to be developed within the urban centres of Minna, Suleja, Bida, Kontagora, and New Bussa has three weeks to justify why they should not forfeit the land.
Speaking during an interface with the staff of the ministry yesterday in Minna, Bar. Magaji said that the ministry, in tandem with the policy thrust of the new administration, will open up new areas in urban areas for sites and services.
He said the ministry will not condone any illegal change of use of land without the explicit approval of relevant departments after payment of the necessary fees.
"Penalty, which would include the closure of business premises and complete denial of the change of use, will be applied", he emphasised.
He said the governor explicitly directed that each local government make available 10,000 hectares of land for agricultural cultivation.
The commissioner tasked the staff of the ministry to work hard to raise the revenue profile of the ministry to match the expectations of the present administration, explaining that the state governor, Mohammed Umaru Bago, was looking up to the ministry to contribute a substantial amount of revenue to the state coffers.
He said with proper incentives and political will, the ministry will generate the needed funds for developmental purposes in the state.
According to him, "to this end, we will give emphasis to ground rent collection. This would be done through all means possible to get compliance with the condition on the C of O issued. We would set up an enforcement wing to follow defaulters".
He said the ministry will vigorously pursue the Telecom Mast annual Temporary Right of Occupancy fees and mining fees from licenced miners and also work closely with private property developers to collect the layout approval fees.
The commissioner said that although revenue would be the goal, the new leadership would not shy away from its other regulatory functions.
The commissioner urged all staff and partners of the ministry to work towards achieving these goals, revealing that the governor has promised handsome rewards for ministries and agencies that perform exceedingly well.
He said on his part that he will ensure incentives in terms of allowances, conducive working environments, office equipment, logistics, and money realised as a percentage of generating revenues get to everyone.
Niger State Commissioner for Finance, Hon. Lawal Adamu Maikano, has said that the issue of ghost workers in the civil service was one area the state government wanted to thoroughly checkmate as it has been identified as one of the areas where government resources were being wasted due to overblown staff strength.
The Commissioner, who stated this while interacting with journalists in his office on Monday, said that if need be for staff verification, technology would be deployed to ensure that civil servants were verified from the comfort of their homes without any stress, adding that Gov. Umaru Bago was passionate about civil servants and he wants them to be happy and work comfortably.
The Commissioner also said his desire was to see that civil servants in the state get their salaries by the 25th of every month and, if there was any issue, by the 27th, which he said he was hoping to commence by January 2024.
"You know, His Excellency Umar Mohammed Bago likes the civil service more than anything else. He wants the civil servants to be much more comfortable and happy doing their jobs. You know you cannot be happy doing your job when you are hungry.
"So, he is putting all measures in place to ensure that whenever it is due for salary release, it is done," explained the Commissioner.
Hon. Maikano pointed out that the ministry would collaborate with the state planning commission to ensure that the present administration spends within the budgetary provisions of the state.
He said the administration of Hon. Mohammed Umaru Bago was determined to ensure that all capital projects embarked upon had a direct bearing on the people.
He disclosed that they intended to abide by the provisions of the budget, hence their determination to focus on providing basic social amenities to the people of the state.
The finance commissioner revealed that they will identify waste and do away with it so that there will be enough resources to execute projects that will positively impact the lives of Nigerlites.
He added that the desire of Gov. Umaru Bago was to ensure that the basic amenities were available to the people, which include good healthcare services, a road network, portable water, and a good education system, among others, which according to him can only be obtainable through judicious use of state resources.
"We want to ensure that those things that are not necessary are done away with.
We have identified a lot of wastages, and His Excellency, Hon. Mohammed Umaru Bago, is doing everything necessary to take away those wastages. Once those wastages are taken away, you will see that there will be enough funds available for projects that will impact the lives of the people of Niger State," said the Commissioner.
On improving internally generated revenue (IGR), the Commissioner disclosed that there was a retreat earlier organised by the state revenue board on revenue harmonisation, which was signed by the immediate past administration.
He revealed that going forward, no agency will be allowed to generate and spend revenue because any revenue generated and spent cannot be counted as revenue because it didn't get into the government coffers, adding that they want all the revenue collected to be in one purse and that agencies will be well funded to carry out their statutory functions from that purse.
The Commissioner disclosed that they want to harmonise the revenue collection process in the state because they are targeting a hundred billion naira annual revenue generation in the state, which he said was possible through the introduction of technology into the revenue collection process as well as the blocking of all loopholes.
For his plan to ensure that staff of his ministry are in tune with the new vision of the ministry, the Commissioner said there are plans for capacity building for staff of the ministry in order to be on the same page and to be effective and efficient in service delivery.