Participants at the capacity building workshop in Ede…recently

The Osun State government has initiated moves to ensure continuity in good governance through some strategies on sustainable development, even beyond the 2018 election. Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo writes

In efforts to provide sustainable governance in Osun State, the Governor Rauf Aregbesola administration, through the state Ministry of Economic Planning, Budget and Development, has prepared a Medium Term Sector Strategy (MTSS) for an all-encompassing State Development Plan, to ensure seamless development of the state, even after the 2018 elections.

To this effect, a two-day workshop was organised recently by the state government for various stakeholders in a bid to ensure that the MTSS is a success.

Devt Plan

For a state to attain its goals in all spheres of development, the need for a State Development Plan (SDP), which is the overall planning document and guide for all state agencies to develop its plans, programmes, and projects within the ambit of available resources, cannot be over-emphasised.

Indeed, the SDP is the framework that ensures that state agencies establish priorities within allocated and usually limited resources to reflect the vision of the state for its citizens.

Seamless Process

The need to put Osun on a smooth pedestal in launching its SDP to ensure that the state continues to follow the path of continuous development gave birth to the preparation of the Osun SDP, which was drafted to contain broad goals and outcomes in line with the core values and objectives of the state government to make life meaningful for its people in all spheres.

Aregbesola’s unwavering belief is that there are greater works to be done in line with the foundation that he has laid, as to him, the welfare of the people of the state is too important to be left for people to conduct experiments.

Thus, he initiated the process of a medium term development plan for all sectors in motion through the ministry of economic planning, budget and development.

Building Capacity

And to further reiterate government’s commitment to ensuring that the plans are not just pipe dreams on paper, a two-day capacity building programme was organised recently for stakeholders from all sectors within the state for a selected Sector Plan Development Team at the Western Sun International Hotel, Ede.

The timely capacity building process, which was primarily to empower sector leaders for their roles in the preparation of the Osun SDP and aid their understanding of the scope of their responsibilities, was a precursor to another strategy workshop.

According to findings and feedback from stakeholders, the latter forum is also a critical part of the process, as that is where far-reaching decisions on the MTSS for all sectors are expected to be taken.

Ensuring Continuity

The programme was a deep reflection of the Osun government’s desire to ensure continuity in its planned, orderly and coherent development of the state across all sectors, ensure its timely implementation through the annual budget, and also put a stop to project abandonment and stick to budget commitments.

The Aregbesola government believes that the effective production and implementation on the SDP will not only help the state economy to grow, but also provide essential services to achieve the desired development goals of the state.

It is also expected to boost objective prioritisation of projects and adequate allocation of resources towards specific strategic goals and programmes within the constraints implied by the overall fiscal targets over a three-year period.

Emphasis was laid on ensuring a linkage between government expenditures and state goals and programmes that were articulated in the SDP, ensuring that government’s expenditure reflects government priorities, promotion of transparency and accountability in government expenditure, and facilitation of monitoring, evaluation and performance assessment of government expenditures.

Crucial Lessons

The training covered various aspects of MTSS which include conceptual framework of MTSS; review of high level policy documents; sector situation analysis; introduction to strategy session; developing sector mission, vision, core values, objectives, programmes and outcomes.

There were also aspects of syndicate session and presentations, project development and prioritisation, cross cutting issues in MTSS development, introduction to projects and costing, roles of SPT in MTSS process and MTSS documentation.

The stakeholders were taught the cardinals of MTSS to give them a clear understanding of government’s policies and goals as contained in the SDP, set medium term sector objectives broken down into programmes, link them to SDP, and identify key projects that need to be executed to achieve sector objectives.

Institutionalising Devt

The Commissioner for Economic Planning, Budget and Development, Dr. Lekan Yinusa, stated that the programme was designed as part of the comprehensive efforts at institutionalising development programmes and projects in Osun.

“The whole essence is first to develop a long term plan for the state, meaning that in the next three years, what do you expect Osun to be? And from this particular long term plan, we need to develop a sector strategy which will lead into actualising some of the goals of our identified deliverables from the State Development Plan.

“We believe that if we develop a State Development Plan, we know it will be implemented by the sector champions and the sector champions are the one to develop the sector strategies. So we believe that it is pertinent for us to give the stakeholders the technical details of what they need to know on how to deliver the strategies spelt out in the SDP.

“So following the retreat we held in January on envisioning the SDP, we planned a sector planning team training, which is this one, to basically leverage on the experience that we have had at the state level in January and now bring all those things we said we will achieve down to the sectoral level,” he said.

According to Yinusa, the essence of the capacity building workshop was that projects and programmes would be identified and costs put to them to form the basis upon which the state budget would be developed.

The commissioner added that the advantage of this was that there would be a connection between policies and programmes and the budget being developed, because, to him, “when policies are not linked with sector strategies and budget, there will be a mismatch”.

“That is what we are trying to do, to make sure that by the time our budget is prepared, it captures the overall intentions of government. And with this programme, that vision will be fulfilled because when you develop a plan, there is a need for you to have the required human resources to deliver the implementation.

“So it is one thing to have everything down, it is another thing to have the needed human resources to implement it because you must make sure the plan is not only accepted but implemented well, and all stakeholders have the knowledge behind the content of the goal,” Yinusa stated.