Governor Okowa made the call (08/10/15) while declaring open a 2-day “Strategic Executive Retreat” for political appointees and permanent secretaries in Delta State.
The retreat which has “Revamping the Ethos Of Governance and Business” as its theme took place at the African Institute for Public Policies, Onicha Ugbo, Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State.
Governor Okowa told participants that it was an opportunity for the Appointees to acquaint themselves with the direction of government.
While stating that the political appointees were very necessary for the smooth operations of government, Governor Okowa said there was the need for a change in mind-set of civil servants for them to think about serving the people rather than themselves.
According to the Governor, “I believe that for us to move forward as a government, a revamped public service is important, we should first discipline ourselves and I hope that by 2016 we would have been able to put processes in place to truly revamp the public service to ensure that it passes an integrity test and to be sure that those who head ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) are those that are trusted and I believe that it lies squarely on the Head of Service to drive this process.”
“Ideally Permanent Secretaries are supposed to be the key drivers in our various MDAs but for you to drive a process you must be prepared to truly be a driver of the process; if your conviction is not about the people but about money then there is failure from the beginning; no matter how good a Commissioner is, if you have a very difficult Permanent Secretary it is a problem and I believe that our Commissioners and Permanent Secretaries should work in such a manner that they are able to create synergy in their various ministries,” the Governor stated.
“If in the future we begin to see transfers and cross transfers it is not about punishment, it is not about seniority it is going to be about where you fit in best to create positive change, offer service and wherever you find yourself, you must be ready to take that place to the top.” He stressed.
The Governor noted that with the dwindling revenue as a result of persistent fall in the price of oil, MDAs should be proactive towards revenue generation.
He further stated that, “revenue generation is a very key factor for the smooth operation of government; the oil price has dropped very badly and there is a challenge nationally and very huge challenge in the state because as the revenues reduce our salaries remain the same.”
“This month, by the time we got our receipts the lowest from the FAAC (Federal Accounts Allocation Commission), we barely had enough to pay salaries, and that shows you how bad the situation is, so we need to do a lot in terms of IGR (internally generated revenue) because, from the first to second quarter of the year we have had a drop of 30.7 per cent in revenue and from the look of things, it is dropping further as there are oil revenue loss nationally of N372 billion naira which has directly affected the non-oil revenue which also dropped to N107 billion naira,” he added.
Senator Okowa reiterated, “if we are going to succeed, it will require strategic planning and it will not be business as usual, we are at a time where every kobo counts and we must be cautious in the way we spend public funds, so, we must begin to think about the interest of the people in whatever we do, we must be committed to Delta State, we must be committed to Deltans.”
Earlier in an opening speech, Dr Yemi Amusan commended the visionary approach to problem-solving of Senator Okowa, asserting that strategies would be reviewed during the retreat.