Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN on Friday, 22nd August, 2014, attended the Lagos State Executive Council and Body of Permanent Secretaries’ Retreat, stating that the administration is currently upscaling the integration of its automated processes and platforms in order to make it easier for citizens and residents to benefit from the various services being provided by government.
The Governor who spoke at the InterContinental Hotel, Victoria Island in an interview with state house correspondents after the break session of the retreat with the Theme, “Upscaling the Processes and Benefits of E-Governance in Lagos State” explained that automation is critical to the present administration and that it is ramping up now on some of the aspects of the automation it started years back.
According to the Governor, platforms like vehicle registration, number plate registration, tax card issuance have earlier been created and the goal being actively pursued now is the integration of such platforms.
“You can see that we now have a platform for vehicle licensing and number plate registration; we also have a platform for tax card issuance, a platform for Certificate of Occupancy and the GIS platform.
“We are now integrating that platform to make it easier for residents and citizens to enter and deal with us from a one stop centre on the internet via applications and all that so that citizens do not have to move from one place to the other, one application to the other. That is a commitment that we have made, that we have to ramp up”, he said.
The Governor said towards realizing this, the administration is keen on implementing and optimizing all of the software and hardware that it had acquired while also strengthening the integrity of the state database.
“We are just raising the standards, raising self challenging standards in order to improve what we have done. We review what we have done before to see how well it is working and how the citizens are reacting to it and how it can be improved upon”, he stressed.
While charging the participants during the retreat to strengthen their capacity to review every action and policy that has been embarked upon, the Governor said if the team wants to succeed, there is a compelling need to review every step and action it has taken with a view to achieve sustained improvements.
“We must strengthen the capacity to review everything that we do and every action that we take, we must measure, we must monitor and that is the way we would see whether the solutions we proffered are working or not”, he added.
He reiterated that sometimes due to the pressures of decision making, the first solution that is applied, may not be the best solution but can only move the state from point A to point B but that when such a decision is reviewed, it could open a new vista to better performance.
Fashola said the fact that the administration takes itself very seriously is evident in the commitment to task the team players to go back and ask how well the administration has done after with every programme or policy.
He said for example when the retreat commenced the first task was to ask for an evaluation in terms of implementation of previous resolutions, citing the example of a resolution about moving some members of staff from the state Ministry of Agriculture who were involved with parks and garden management.
He said it was decided that the state Ministry of Agriculture should face its core work of increasing food production capacity in the state while those involved in parks and garden management at the ministry were moved to the Lagos State Parks and Garden Agency which is solely responsible for maintaining parks and gardens.
Fashola stressed that it can be reported that the directive was executed, noting that government will continue to self examine herself, check and be sure directives have been carried out and if they have not, find out who is holding it back, adding that the team must always win.
Speaking on the performance of the budget, the Governor explained that the performance was good but could be better, reminding that all that has been achieved is now behind the State with the focus strongly on what lies ahead.
He also urged members of the Lagos State team to strive as much as possible within their areas of operation to keep within the framework of the Budget by ensuring that items that were never part of the major planning proposals are not brought in at the eleventh hour to create hiccups.
He expressed gladness that the incidence is reducing but canvassed a situation where such late or unanticipated items would be deferred till the next budget year to allow the concentration of efforts on what has already been planned for.
Noting that though the administration has a short time left to wind off, the Governor urged the team members to task themselves on how they can possibly surpass their previous achievements.
“We are a team, the purpose of this retreat is to bond, to know one another, appreciate our strength better by highlighting our strong points and see each other’s weaknesses so that the team can win. Our opponents are aspiring to be where we are. In terms of the abilities here, they cannot give us a run for our money. It would be a disaster for our opponents to take our jobs”, Fashola added.
He commended the state Ministry of Health for its efforts especially concerning combating the Ebola Virus Disease scourge, saying despite the twist and turns, all the confirmed and suspected cases that have been recorded have been linked to the index case.
He said while the state government is preparing for the worst and hoping for the best in containing the Ebola Virus Disease, it is still reminding the people that contact with the virus is not a death sentence and that increased personal hygiene such as washing the hands regularly with soap and water is essential.
He emphasized that the Ebola Virus attack in Nigeria is the first time it is occurring in an urban centre and that the whole world is watching the country on how it would deal with it which may end being a defining experience for the global community.
Also speaking on the last West African Examination Council (WAEC) results details of which are being expected, he stated that he believes that the state government is on the right track but that best results could be recorded by students in such public examinations when there is a review of the way the students are taught.
“It is not that the kids do not want to learn but are we teaching them in the language that they understand? Are we speaking in the language that the children are very comfortable to learn in? He stressed.
He said the state also decided to host the retreat at a new venue as a means of patronizing one of the investments in the state which also gave a generous discount to the state government.
He stressed that the contribution made in terms of food, drinks and hotel accommodation by the state government through its patronage would also boost the business of the hotel and keep people in employment.
On the announced N200 million provided by the Federal Government to the state to fight the Ebola scourge, the Governor said the state is yet to receive the fund, noting that there could perhaps be paper works to be done before the eventual release.
Speaking earlier, the state Head of Service, Mrs Oluseyi Wiliams welcomed participants and expressed appreciation to the Governor for the sustenance of the retreat.
She also gave a commitment that like past editions, the retreat will be appreciably impactful to all the participants, adding that there a conscious effort has been made to bring into perspective the level of compliance in the resolutions and conclusions reached at the last edition.
Prominent among those who attended the retreat were members of the State Executive Council including the state Deputy Governor, Hon (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire; Secretary to the State Government, Dr (Mrs) Ranti Adebule; the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr Lanre Babalola; Commissioners for Finance, Mr Ayo Gbeleyi; Environment, Mr Tunji Bello; Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Ibirogba; Special Adviser to the Governor on Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Raji; members of the Body of Permanent Secretaries and heads of extra ministerial departments and agencies in the state.