Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Meddling in LG Allocation

Meddling in LG Allocation

The concept of Local Government is to bring governance nearer to the people at the grassroots but this idea of joint account with state government seems to have made a mess of this concept.
The joint accounts have hampered the role that empowered the local Government chairmen to operate independently for meanful development.
The atmost intention of federal Governments laudable ideas is that funds be managed by LG chairmen for rural development but the reverse is the case.

Now, there is public outcry over Governor’s meddling in LG allocation
It was first revealed by the chairman of association of local Govt. of Nigeria ALGON, Enugu Chapter Hon. Julius Ogbuke, how the former Governor chimaroke Nnamani diverted over N1.121b council funds into projects that were not executed.
In the came vein, the Edo State chairman of ALGON Hon. Felix Akhabue told Governor Adams Oshiomhole that Osunbor regime had always tampered with LG funds. He cited how Oredo local Govt. council allocation was deducted for the past 10 months from N75m to N90m and now N101m.
In Niger State, former commissioner for commerce, Hajiya Kaka Wabi said N150 million from local Governmenr Joint account was invested in the April 2007 poll .Wabi made the disclosure while testifying before the commission of enquiry set up by governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu to probe former Governor Abdullahim Kure’s administration in Minna.
In answer to a question put to her, she concluded that the only receipt she had was that the PDP won the election in the State.
In Benue state , the House of Assembly passed the 'Benue state Joint Account and methods of Distribution of Funds 2008' within 24 hours after it was received from the state government.This bill gives the state governor the power to spend councils funds totalling 73 per cent from Federation Account.

These malpractices with LG funds cut across the 36 states, and after the state Government have fiddled with the funds, whatever is left goes into payment of salaries, nothing is left to execute projects in the public domain.

Decentralization to locally elected government which should serve as a means to improving incentives of public provider for service delivery to the poor masses has declined in achieving its purpose due to State Government interference.

Who will liberate the Local Governments when the states and their legislatures work together to ruin this tier of Government?
The only solution to this burden of pilfering LG allocation is that the constitution should guarantee financial and administrative autonomy to the local government with oversight functions by the State House of Assembly.
The joint State/ Local Government Accounts should be abolished

Jeff Nkwocha
Local Govt. Study Network

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