The business of bringing about the much desired changes in the country is a collective responsibility of everyone, says Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
Observing the mentality whereby people see the responsibility for effecting change as the business of someone else, the Vice President said ‘’ there is always a sense that it is someone else that will effect this desired change. I think we must be one in deciding in this country that we want a change.’’
The Vice President spoke at Day Two of the on-going 21st National Economic Summit in Abuja on the topic ‘’Reforming Public Institutions to Ensure Competitiveness And Accountability’’
He said everyone likes the rule to be enforced as long as it is not enforced on them.
According to him, ‘’if we pick up somebody here and want to try him, I know how many calls I will get from people in this room.’’ He added that people will bring up all kinds of excuses including those of ethnic affiliations. Continuing, Prof. Osinbajo said ‘’I’ve had the experience in public service and don’t mind being the tough guy. I’ve sacked people that needed to be sacked. So there are no sacred cows, the rules will be applied anyway.’’
While expressing the view that it was possible to achieve the reform of the nation’s public institutions against any known cynicisms or challenges, Prof. Osinbajo stated ‘’ I think that an important message which we have taken from this discussion, is that it is entirely possible to reform our public institutions, to turn our country around.’’ ‘’I perfectly have no doubt in my mind about that,’’ he affirmed.
Prof. Osinbajo charged the elites, including the participants, in the country to play a more significant role in attaining such a national objective, especially in upholding existing rules and regulations.
Talking from his previous public service experience, he said ‘’ I find that everybody will like the rules to be applied so long as it will not apply to himself. We can’t apply the rules except we apply the rules to all of us; there should be no sacred cows.’’
The Vice President noted that the reform of public institutions is critical for efficient and transparent use of public resources as well as sustainable delivery of public goods at national and sub-national levels.
Prof. Osinbajo disclosed that Government was embarking on the reform of public institutions with the fundamental objective to enhance their capacity and capability effectively and efficiently in response to the needs and demands of the citizens.
He disclosed further that ‘’the key element of our institutional reform agenda, first is transparency and accountability. The whole idea is participatory governance, checks and balances which invariably will ensure policies and outputs of public institutions respond to the needs and wants of citizens.’’
The specific reform agenda currently being implemented by the Federal Government, according to the Vice President were focussed at achieving fiscal discipline, revenue diversification and efficient collection of government revenue.
Some of the on-going specific initiatives outlined by Prof. Osinbajo include the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), adoption of zero-based budgeting, bottom-up economic planning model, the Anti-Corruption Committee and capacity building for public servants.
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