By Gift Samuel
Abuja-The National President, Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel has said that financial knowledge will go a long way to curtail corruption and enhance transparency and accountability in unions.
Khaleel said this on Wednesday when he opened a two-day workshop organised by NULGE for financial managers on effective financial management of trade union finance.
While noting that the workshop is very important, as there is need to update their knowledge on how to be up to date in keeping their financial records, he added that enhancing capacity of leaders is the only way forward to tackle the numerous challenges the union face.
According to him; “At a critical time when we are canvassing for a financial independence of local government, before we get this, local government workers needs to be more prepared, energized and updated on their knowledge of financial management for the challenges ahead.
“NULGE leadership resolved to engage and put more attention in capacity building of its members, and it is only when our capacity is enhanced that we will be able to face the challenges ahead of us as leaders at various levels of our union.
“More especially in the midst of challenges, particularly the challenge of incapacity of local government as a tier of government and I believe that what ever affects local government affects NULGE” he said.
He urged the participants to utilize the opportunity by concentrating, adding that the ultimate target is to enhance their capacity and as well find a way of resolving some of the financial challenges they have been passing through.
Speaking on the issue of Local government Autonomy, Khaleel said the struggle is for Nigerian people, stating that the problem of ill performance of local government in Nigeria is not from the workers or the political leadership of local government but due to the level of encroachment into the exclusive preserves of local government by the political elites in Nigeria.
He said; “These was possible due to the lacunas in the constitution,which has made the governance in Nigeria generally an exclusive governance which has led to chaos, security challenges and gaps in social amenities”.
The NULGE President opined that self-centredness of the governors of the states has led them to hijack the job of securing the states and local government to themselves thereby leaving people in disarray.
He also noted that achieving financial autonomy will translate to freeing Nigerian people from unnecessary hardship and excruciating control the system and the people of the grassroot suffered over the years from the government of that state.
Furthermore,Comrade Khaleel while responding to the recently released Paris Club refund, said that an MoU was signed with the Government of Delta state to judiciously use what belongs to the local government from the Paris club refund transparently to offset the backlog of unpaid salary of NULGE members.
He said that letters have been issued particularly to the states owing workers salaries to do the needful or face the union.
The National workshop with the theme;Effective Financial Management of Trade Union Finance”, is the first of the series as the President promised to hold more before the year runs out.
In attendance were key financial managers of the union in all the state branches, particularly those with the responsibility to collate, manage and disburse fund to the appropriate arms of the Union