Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo on Wednesday urged local government chairmen in the state to be prudent and avoid incurring unnecessary debt.
The governor spoke during the opening ceremony of a three-day programme organised for newly elected local government chairmen and councilors in Benin.
He said that the state had the resources to support councils to perform optimally and effectively.
“We have state agencies that can address most of your needs without charges; we have abundant resources to help you.
“We know most of you do not have resources internally to plan, but I want to assure you that we have most of the resources you require and we will extend them to you without any cost.
“I will advise you not to waste your scares resources on expensive or dubious consultancy or training contracts,” the governor said.
Obaseki said that the local government councils would not be allowed to employ people indiscriminately.
“You are not allowed to employ people indiscriminately; most of you are over-staffed; use the existing staff you have.
“It is only when it is clear they are insufficient that you begin to hire new people.
“Most of you are owing salary arrears. So, I don’t know what justification you have to hire new people when you cannot pay the ones you already have,” he said.
The governor said that all chairmen and councilors must reside in their councils and should come up with strategic plans on how to better the lives of the masses.
He said that the government would go after anyone found to have stolen council funds, where it had clear evidence.
“We want you to be transparent, as indiscipline will not be tolerated,’’ he said.
Obaseki urged the chairmen to take revenue generation, security and job creation as priority.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of Igbinedion University, Okada, Prof. Eghosa Osaghae, said the local government is the closest level of governance to the people where many of them can contribute.
He called for more cooperation between the three tiers of government. (NAN)