Only A Viable Workforce Can Drive Government Policies and Programmes

Only A Viable Workforce Can Drive Government Policies and Programmes

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Friday restated his administration’s commitment to reforms in the state civil service, saying that only a viable workforce can drive the policies and programmes of any government.

The Governor who spoke when he received the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, on a courtesy visit at the Lagos House, Ikeja, said he remains a strong supporter of public service reforms, adding that any government desirable of making positive change in the lives of the citizenry must have a motivated and trained workforce.

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (right), being presented with a frame by Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita (left), during a courtesy visit to the Governor, at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Friday, March 11, 2016.

“We do not have any choice, because the engine room of whatever it is that is our policy or programme is actually in the public service and in the civil service, so it is important that we must tag along on the same wavelength with all the civil servants for us to be able to achieve all the programmes our party, the APC has decided to put across to all Nigerians,” he said.

He assured Mrs. Oyo-Ita of his administration’s continuous support to enhance the partnership between the state and federal government in the areas of training and retraining of public servants, saying that it was germane to ensuring continuity in governance.

PIX 3686L-R: Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, with Permanent Secretary, Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, Chief Yemi Adelakun and Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita, during a courtesy visit to the Governor, at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Friday, March 11, 2016.

“So it is in our better interest that we enhance this relationship. I give you my commitment further to say that there is value in it, it is important that we build a virile civil service that can stand the test of time that even when programmes do change or parties do change, the bull work of the machinery of deliverables to our people which is the civil service, remains very strong. That is what I am committed to”.

He also pledged his commitment to collaborate with the Federal Government on enhancing the commercial nature of the public service, expressing optimism that if put in the right perspective, it could engender economic growth and increase the GDP of the nation.

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle), ina group photograph with Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita (4th left); Permanent Secretary, Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, Chief Yemi Adelakun; Lagos State Head of Service, Mrs. Olabowale Ademola (4th right); Commissioner for Establishments & Training, Dr. Benson Akintola (3rd right) and others during a courtesy visit to the Governor by Head of Service of the Federation, at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Friday, March 11, 2016.

Earlier, Mrs. Oyo-Ita said she was in Lagos to visit some of the federal institutions in the state, just as she sought the Governor’s support towards revving the comatose nature of some of the federal training institutes so as to make them efficient.

“I am very passionate about training and retraining civil servants. No doubt, you will agree with me that no matter how eloquent and excellent the policy thrust of government may be, the civil service is the engine room and if the workforce are not well trained they cannot in anyway bring to realization, the lofty goals of that administration and that is why we are looking back into what we have already developed over the years but somehow, it has been left to decay.

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle), flanked by Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita (left) and Lagos State Head of Service, Mrs. Olabowale Ademola (right), during a courtesy visit by the Head of Service of the Federation, at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Friday, March 11, 2016.

“When you see what is going on in our training institutes, for example, the Federal Training Centre in Lagos that I visited yesterday it needs a lot of work to bring it back to the level that it is expected of it. That is why I am putting a lot of effort into restructuring our training institutes, the facilities, they have the infrastructure and the resource persons, its curriculum and so on, so that we can bring it up to an international level whereby we have people coming from other African and West African countries as it happened in times past. This is one place we need your support,” she said.

Oyo-Ita also highlighted the intentions of her office to improve on the commercial orientation of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government, saying the economic downturn has made it imperative for MDAs to become more commercial oriented.

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R- L: Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle), with Chairman, Civil Service Commission, Mrs. Adeyinka Taiwo Oyemade; Director General, Public Service Staff Development Centre, Mrs. Olubunmi Fabanwo; Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita; Lagos State Head of Service, Mrs. Olabowale Ademola; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Establishments & Training, Mrs. Folasade Ogunnaike and Director, Lagos Liaison Office, Mrs. Ibironlke Okikiola during a courtesy visit by the Head of Service of the Federation, at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Friday, March 11, 2016.

She lauded Governor Ambode’s strides in the last nine months, saying that the impact of his policies and programmes are already being felt across the state.

“Indeed it is an honour to be given this opportunity to visit and pay a courtesy call on my own brother and classmate. When we left UNILAG in 1984, we never thought that when we meet, we would be meeting in this capacity because we were wearing jeans and tee-shirt and snickers and just going our happy way. We thank God for what he has used us to do in our various environments.

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (right), being presented with a frame by Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita (left), during a courtesy visit to the Governor, at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Friday, March 11, 2016.

“That is why I am here to congratulate you on your well deserved election and appointment as Executive Governor of Lagos State, we are already seeing what you are doing in this state, you are continuing with the zeal and passion of your predecessors,” she said.

Lagos Monarchs Visit: Commendation Will Spur Us to Do More

Lagos Monarchs Visit: Commendation Will Spur Us to Do More

The Lagos State Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs on Thursday commended the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and all the security agencies in the state for the prompt and successful rescue of the students of Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary School in Ikorodu who were kidnapped by gunmen at their school on February 29.

The traditional rulers, who stated this when they paid a courtesy visit to the Governor at the Lagos House in Ikeja, said the swift response and collaboration between the state government and security agencies which culminated in the rescue of the three affected girls and arrest of the hoodlums, was highly commended and that same was an eloquent confirmation that security and welfare of the people is paramount to the current administration in the state.

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (right), making his remarks when the Oba of Lagos & Chairman, Council of Obas & Chiefs, Oba Rilwan Akiolu I, paid him a courtesy visit, at the Lagos House, Ikeja on Thursday, March 10, 2016.

Briefing journalists at the end of the visit, Oba of Lagos, HRM Rilwan Akiolu said the kidnap of the girls had again brought to the fore the need to remind Lagosians to be security conscious and be alert at any given point in time.

He said: “We are here to appreciate what God has done in the recovery of the abducted school girls and to thank the Governor, the security forces, particularly the Commissioner of Police, the State Director of DSS, the Commander of 9th Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army and all other security forces who worked tirelessly in the recovery of the three children.

“They really moved in on time and they achieved success with God’s guidance and help. So, we are here to appreciate them and to alert the people on the need to be security conscious. We are also here to pray for the success of the Lagos State Government and to brief the Governor on the outcome of my visit to Saudi Arabia with Mr. President.

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (left), exchanging pleasantries with Oba Oniru of Iruland, Oba Abiodun Idowu Oniru (2nd right) while Oba of Ketu, Oba Isiaka Adio Balogun (2nd left) and Ojoni of Lagos, Chief Nurudeen Olubiyi Agoro (right) watch with admiration, during a courtesy visit by the Council of Obas and Chiefs in the State, at the Lagos House, Ikeja on Thursday, March 10, 2016.

“We were very happy when we heard the news of the rescue of the girls and you see the efficacy of prayer is not in doubt. All hands were on deck and God heard our prayers and we were very happy. The Governor played the role of a father, an administration and of a man who cared for the welfare of his people, and our prayer is that God almighty will continually be with him and all of us,” Oba Akiolu said.

Responding, Governor Ambode said the primary purpose of government is to ensure the security and welfare of the people, assuring that his administration would not renege in keeping faith with that role.

He thanked the monarchs for finding time to come and appreciate what his administration has been doing especially in terms of security, saying that the visit would further spur him to do more for the people.

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 Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd right), discussing with White Cap Chiefs –  Egbe of Lagos, Chief Abayomi Olusi; Obanikoro of Lagos, Chief Ajayi Bembe and Ologun Agun of Lagos, Chief Raufu Salam during a courtesy visit by the Council of Obas and Chiefs in the State , at the Lagos House, Ikeja on Thursday, March 10, 2016.

“I just want to say a very big thank you to my royal fathers, my chiefs and this is coming from the bottom of my heart because for you to have thought it necessary to come and show appreciation about what has happened about our security situation in the last one week means that the concern that you have brought here is about the progress and unity of Lagos State in general.

“What you have done will more or less inspire us to do more. Your visit to the Lagos House today in respect of the three children that were kidnapped and later recovered is to send a message that you are in support of all our security agencies and you are also in support of the government with the way we have given security the required attention.

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (right), in a warm handshake with Onikosi of Ikosi, Oba Alamu Oloyede (left) while Olubeshe of Ibeshe, Oba Richard Ogunsanya (middle) watches with admiration, during a courtesy visit by the Council of Obas and Chiefs in the State , at the Lagos House, Ikeja on Thursday, March 10, 2016.

“You will recall also that the paramount reason why we are in government is for the safety and welfare of all Lagosians and we would not renege in ensuring that we keep Lagos safe and ensure that the lives and property of all Lagosians are of paramount importance to us,” the Governor said.

Lagos Sets Up Revenue Court To Tackle Tax Evaders, Defaulters

Lagos Sets Up Revenue Court To Tackle Tax Evaders, Defaulters

The Lagos State Government on Tuesday said it would apply the relevant laws to ensure that more Lagosians voluntarily pay their taxes, just as it warned that tax evaders and defaulters would be prosecuted.

State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, who stated this during a press conference held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa Secretariat, said in view of the extreme financial downturn, there was the strong need for government to ramp up its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), stressing that the state would spare nothing in enforcing the laws regulating tax payment.

He said the administration of Governor Ambode had put in place necessary measures to end the era of tax evasion and indeed avoidance in the state, adding that tax avoiders and evaders would be aggressively pursued in line with the provisions of the law.

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Chairman, Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), Mr. Olufolarin Ogunsanwo (middle), addressing journalists on Tax Reforms in the State, Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Mustapha Akinkunmi (right) and Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde (left) during a Press Conference by LIRS at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday, March 08, 2016.

The Commissioner, who disclosed that the Ministry of Justice had established a Rapid Tax Prosecution Unit to aid the Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) in its drive to collect taxes, added that the unit would work closely with the Revenue Court which the Chief Judge of Lagos State recently agreed to set up.

He said: “Prosecution and jail term for defaulting tax payers will be a tool that we will be actively using to ensure full compliance. Tax officers, I understand, will be very aggressive in their collection of taxes and the public is hereby advised to cooperate with them because obstruction of these tax officers in their lawful duty can and will lead to prosecution.

“Tax dodgers watch out because the long arm of the law will eventually reach you. All tax payers are also reminded that giving false information is also an offence and can be used in the prosecution of your tax default. If you pay your taxes regularly, you will have no problem,” Kazeem said.

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Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem; Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Mustapha Akinkunmi and Chairman, Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), Mr. Olufolarin Ogunsanwo during a Press Conference on Tax Reforms in the State by LIRS at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday, March 08, 2016.

On his part, the State Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Mustapha Akinkunmi, said the state generated at least N24.5billion from IGR in the month of January 2016, in line with the efforts of the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration to reform its tax system and develop a tax paying culture.

Akinkunmi said in the light of the reduction of federal transfers to states including Lagos, the state government was looking inwards to secure sustainable ways of increasing its revenue profile and plugging leakages in the system.

He said majority of the state’s IGR is generated through tax collection, administered by the LIRS.

According to Akinkunmi, the LIRS contributed 79 per cent to the State’s IGR in 2015, which equates to 56 per cent of the State’s total revenue including Federal transfers, adding that the revenue is expected to continue on an upward swing, driven by strong tax collection.

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Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Mustapha Akinkunmi; Chairman, Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), Mr. Olufolarin Ogunsanwo; Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde and Chairman, Lagos House Committee on Finance, Hon. Yinka Ogundimu during a Press Conference on Tax Reforms in the State by LIRS at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday, March 08, 2016.

He said, “This trend of strong performance is continuing. In January this year, LIRS has contributed N24.5billion in revenue, attaining 98 per cent budget performance for the month and recording 12 per cent growth from the same period in 2014.”

The Finance Commissioner attributed the improvement in the revenue generation of the state to voluntary tax compliance by tax paying members of the public despite the harsh economic terrain.

On his part, the LIRS Chairman, Mr. Olufolarin Ogunsanwo, said the agency had consistently been at the vanguard of ensuring reforms in the state to improve the ease of doing business in Lagos, adding that such reforms would aid voluntary tax compliance.

Ogunsanwo said that government was already working to bring more members of the informal sector into the tax net, saying that the Tax Returns Form had been reduced to two pages as against the six pages document hitherto in operation.

He also said that the agency, in an effort to bring efficient service delivery closer to the people, recently commissioned two new tax offices in Tejuosho and Sangotedo, adding that efforts was also being made to open additional two Tax Stations within Amuwo Odofin/Festac and Alimosho axis.

He thanked willful taxpayers and implored Lagosians to continue to pay their taxes as at when due, saying that in doing this, they empowered the state government to embark on infrastructural renewal and provision of dividends of democracy to the citizenry.

He said so far, the provision of the N4.8billion security equipment, provision of new ambulances, the N25billion Employment Trust Fund, the Light Up Lagos project, massive road construction, among others, had been provided through revenue generated from tax.

The Welfare and Security of Lagosians Remains Paramount

The Welfare and Security of Lagosians Remains Paramount

Anglican Archbishop of Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos Mainland Diocese, Most Rev. Adebayo Dada Akinde on Mondaycommended the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, saying the prompt, positive and practical response of the government contributed largely to the success story of the safe rescue of the three female students of Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary, Ikorodu.

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Akinde who led other bishops of the Anglican Church, Principal of the school, Ven. Olaoluwa Adeyemi and parents of the three rescued female students on a “thank you” courtesy visit to the Governor at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, said the success story of the rescue of the girls cannot be complete without the laudable efforts of the Lagos State Government.

He said he and his team deemed it fit to come and appreciate the role played by the state government in the wake of the abduction of the students from the school on February 29 and particularly the role of Governor Ambode.

“It was a most traumatic moment and sad for us as proprietors. Today we are thanking God for his intervention that a most unfortunate and traumatic event ended on a joyous note.

“All three pupils are now safe in the custody of their parents, they have been reunited. You acted and responded. Your response was prompt, your response was positive, your response was practical.

“So when we talk about this success story of the return of the three female students, your Excellency your contribution is most overwhelming, you have shown yourself to be a passionate leader, a leader that is interested in the well being of the citizens of the state that God has placed you as the Chief Executive Officer at this time.

“So the main objective of our mission here is to express immense thanks to your Excellency for the support you gave us. We are saying thank you, we are indeed grateful, you have started well as the Governor of the State, God will grant you the grace to continue and improve in the name of Jesus. We sincerely appreciate you and are immensely grateful,” Bishop Akinde said.

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Also speaking, Principal of the school, Ven. Adeyemi said they were indeed grateful for the support encouragement and prayers they received from several quarters while the ordeal lasted.

He said with the security apparatus put in place by the state government, it was game over for those who have taken to crime in Lagos.

“No hiding place for criminals in Lagos now, because for the event that took place in the past few days and that God in his infinite mercy helped us and the security agencies did their work well and the girls are with us now. They are back in school and have reunited with their parents. I believe that God is working in Lagos,” he said.

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 One of the parents of the recued girls, Ven. Ayo Olusan said they were relieved with the return of their girls, saying the prayers offered by Nigerians and the prompt effort of the state government played a huge role towards the rescue of the girls.

Responding, Governor Ambode said the incident was a test of the government’s commitment to the security of lives and property in the state.

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“Seven days ago, the unthinkable happened, but again, we give all the glory to God that seven days after we are able to pride ourselves that one of those principal duties that you have charged this administration with is what we have just proved.

“We took it personal, not because it was a private school, not because it was far away from the metropolis, but because we all decided to say that if it were our own child or children, are we going to sit down? That is the real focus of what this administration is all about. For everything that happens we put ourselves to imagine that if it were us, what would be said about our actions and inactions.

“We are very grateful to God for giving us that opportunity to prove that the welfare and well being and the security of the people of Lagos is what is paramount to us as an administration.

“It’s just for me to reiterate that the security of lives and properties is of paramount interest to this administration, we will do anything to make sure that the security of lives and property is sustained, is enhanced, because at the end of the day that is the only way we can grow the economy of Lagos,” Governor Ambode said.

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Governor Ambode also sent a strong warning to criminals to desist from their nefarious activities, warning that his administration is poised to spread its security searchlight to every nook and cranny of the state.

“We know that Lagos is safe, we are reiterating once again and sending a final warning signal to all the criminals and miscreants that have been disturbing the peace of Lagos, this time around, we would be in every nook and cranny of Lagos to secure the lives of everyone,” he said.

 

Pictures: Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode Visits Scene Of Dispute in Agiliti, Mile 12

Pictures: Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode Visits Scene Of Dispute in Agiliti, Mile 12

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd left), Area Commander, Area H, Ogudu-Ojota, ACP Aliyu Garba; Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni and Commanding Officer, 9 Mechanized Brigade, Brigadier General Bulama Biu during the Governor’s visit to the scene of dispute in Agiliti, Mile 12, Lagos on Sunday, March 06, 2016.

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle), flanked by the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni (left) and Commanding Officer, 9 Mechanized Brigade, Brigadier General Bulama Biu (right) during the Governor’s visit to the scene of dispute in Agiliti, Mile 12, Lagos on Sunday, March 06, 2016.