Plateau State Judiciary, Legislature gain full autonomy
By Gloria Thomas
The Plateau state judiciary and House of assembly are now autonomous in handling their finaces and other matters. This follows the signing of four bills passed into law by Governor Simon Lalong in Jos the state capital.
The bills passed by the state legislature and signed into law includes: Plateau State Legislative Funds Management Law; Plateau State Judiciary Funds Management Law; Plateau State Property and Land Use Charge Law; and the Plateau Geographic Services Law.
Governor Simon Lalong said the new Funds Management Law for the Judiciary and Legislature will guide the implementation of the recently granted autonomy for the two arms of government particularly in terms of financial management with regards to funds disbursement, approvals and expenditure in line with extant financial regulations.
Lalong siad “these laws will further strengthen the two institutions by ensuring that funds are judiciously applied to the various needs of the Judiciary and Legislature. It will also assist the two arms to work within the framework of the MOU for the autonomy which was arrived at after thorough engagement between the three arms of government”.
Lalong said the new Property and Land Use Charge and the Plateau Geographic Information Services (PLAGIS) will significantly help in improving land administration in the State as well as boost revenue generation.
The Governor said that by signing the law on autonomy, there is greater demand for resources which must be sourced locally as such “one of the things that will give us financial freedom as a state is for people to pay charges on their properties which hitherto have not been collected. That way, we can get resources to develop the state and provide services.” e
He emphasised that “this law will also enable us to enumerate all properties as well as name streets and number houses across the state”.
According to Governor Simon Lalong “the new laws are not meant to burden the citizens but to enable each property owner contribute to the development of the state”.
The PLAGIS law now makes land administration more secure, flexible and reliable as well as ensure that all land data is captured, transformed and maintained in electronic format.
Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Chrysanthus Ahmadu said the four laws are crucial for good governance and economic development of the State as they border on revenue generation and land management.
He said with the new Property and Land Charge Law, all owners of developed landed properties with titles, building plan approvals or not, will be required to comply with all stipulated charges. While failure will attract sanctions, compliance will attract incentives.
The law harmonises the collection of all land charges including tenement rates that Local Governments are empowered to enforce. This he said is captured in the new collection and sharing arrangement between the State and Local Governments which was done in line with the provisions of the Constitution that empowers such arrangement.
The PLAGIS law provides for a Director General, a secretary and other supporting staff who will manage the agency.
The Plateau State Geographic Information Services, PLAGIS, was commissioned about four years ago under the ministry of Land Survey and Town Planning. It is in the process of collating all land information in the state plus a fifty percent reduction in the cost of certificate of occupancy.