President Goodluck Jonathan
Paul Obi and James Emejo
President Goodluck Jonathan has launched a fresh initiative for the effective implementation of budgets through the introduction of performance-based contracts for ministers and other strategic government officials.
The initiative, which is coming against the backdrop of the crisis of confidence between the presidency and the National Assembly over the perceived poor implementation of past budgets and especially the 2012 budget, will ensure that ministers and other heads of parastatals commit themselves to timelines and specific deliverables in the implementation of the budget and other government policies every year.
The decision to introduce performance-based contracts as an evaluation tool in the implementation of budgets also coincided with the release of N300 billion for capital spending in the third quarter of the year.
The contracts, which are also aimed at improving service delivery by public institutions, according to a source, will also spell out sanctions against any minister or head of agency who breaches the contracts.
“Of course, there will be punishment, but the good thing about the contract is that there will be effective monitoring of respective ministries and government agencies,” he said.
He explained that what will follow the monitoring is a mechanism that will create a platform for “sanctions and rewards depending on the performance of the minister or government official.”
Ahead of the signing of the performance contracts on the budget slated for next Wednesday during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, ministers will be required to sign similar performance-based agreements with the heads of parastatals and departments under their purview that will commit the respective heads to the effective implementation of budgetary provisions as they affect their organisations.
Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, who yesterday in Abuja signed the performance contracts with the chief executives of parastatals and agencies under his ministry, said the contracts would be used as a tool to measure the performances of heads of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government.
“President Goodluck Jonathan will on the 22nd of this month, sign performance agreement contracts with all ministers with a view to measuring their performance and enhancing the quality of service delivery to Nigerians,” he said.
According to him, the initiative of the president is to ensure that governance is judged by the quality of service delivery and not by financial input.
“The National Planning Commission has developed the key performance indicators (KPIs) for ministries, departments and agencies, which will serve as a guide in measuring their performance and output.
“In furtherance of the new policy, all ministers are equally directed by the president to sign performance agreement contracts with their directors and chief executives of agencies and parastatals under them, in order to deliver on the targets set out for them,” he added.
Maku urged the chief executives to ensure that staff under them live up to their responsibilities through enhanced performance, which would be monitored by the ministry for the overall objective of attaining their KPIs.
He also assured them that the ministry would continue to enhance the dissemination of information and collect feedback from the public, while also ensuring the production of quality programmes by its public information organs, which would be comparable to the programmes produced by private media organisations.
He promised that the ministry would increase the tempo in the fight against piracy and the standardisation of Nigerian films to realise the full potential of the nation’s movie industry.
Maku added that the target of the government was to realise the KPIs for the ministries through human capacity development, diligence and better management of financial resources, especially the generation and utilisation of internally generated revenue.
The minister also called for the reinvigoration of the Service Compact Units (SERVICOM) in the ministry and its parastatals for effective service delivery and monitoring of performance.
Earlier, the Director, Human Resources of the Ministry, Mallam Ahmed Sabo, said the signing of the performance contracts with the parastatals was an innovation within the context of the transformation agenda of the present administration to enhance service delivery, transparency and accountability in governance.
Commenting on behalf of the chief executives of parastatals under the ministry, the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria (VOA), Mallam Abubakar Jijiwa, said the signing of the contracts symbolised a covenant they have entered into with the minister and pledged their readiness to ensure the full realisation of their respective KPIs.
In a bid to enhance their productivity and meet their KPIs, the Federal Government yesterday announced that it had released N300 billion for the third quarter capital budget.
Disclosing this in Abuja, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said with the current release, a total sum of N704 billion, representing 53 per cent of the N4.26 trillion annual budget, had so far been made available to the MDAs to execute their capital budgets.
Okonjo-Iweala also said that the utilisation of the previous N404 billion released in the first and second quarters had gone up to 65.4 per cent as at the end of July from 56 per cent as at the end of June.
Also, the president has ordered the expedited payment of August salaries to federal civil servants to allow them mark the Sallah celebration.
The minister said as a result of the president’s directive, federal workers would be able to collect their salaries between yesterday and today to enable them to have a good holiday with their families.
However, she said the release of the capital budget is a sign of the “commitment by Mr. President to show that we are pressing on and we are making sure the finances are available for the MDAs to be able to execute the capital projects”.
“This demonstrates the government's commitment to realising a significant level of budget implementation this year,” she said.
The minister also repeated her stance on the threat by oil marketers to go on strike, describing it as cheap blackmail and an attempt to hold the government and the entire nation to ransom by saying they would neither import nor sell fuel.
The minister said the government was however open to dialogue with the marketers.
“What we have decided to do is that we will look again at some of those who are not participating in this and who may have slight infractions and talk to them. We are open to dialogue and discussions with some of these marketers,” she said.