Sunday, 1 May 2016

Niger State grant Full autonomy to Local Government Councils

The 25 local government councils in Niger State are to get full autonomy from today, 1st May, 2016. Governor Abubakar Sani Bello made the pronouncement during the first Town Hall Meeting of his administration with the state stakeholders held at the Justice Idris Legbo International Conference Centre, Minna revealing that “We have decided as a policy to make some certain changes on the Joint Account, because Joint Account to my understanding is an avenue for corruption. What this has shown us is that we have to change and we have to allow some level of autonomy in each local government. Let each and every local government manage their affairs, the executive of the local government are accountable to the people of that local government and people of that local government should checkmate the executives of that local government”, he stressed.

He decried the situation at which some local government funds were being used to augment the wage bills of other local governments, adding “What joint account easily does is to punish those local governments that have been able to manage their wage bill cost”.
Governor Bello emphasised that the state government was not interested in the money allocated to the LGs and neither himself, adding that the local governments will be allowed to run their affairs.

He also observed that the workers of the LG were not working because they were not being engaged fully as a result of scarce facilities and inadequate instruments to work with, saying, “from the moment we provide them with their allocations as they come, the state is not interested in one penny, I am not interested in one penny of the local government, am not. That will make them more responsible, let them improve their internally generated revenue”, he stressed.

According to him, the LGs were in need of credible leadership for the system to work, adding that the local government system administration has completely collapsed as the capacity was no longer there due to non functioning of the LGs over the years.
The governor lamented over the inability of the LGs to generate enough through Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) strategy,  adding that even the little that were usually collected, about 90 per cent were often being siphoned by some individuals which had resulted into underdevelopment at the LGs.
He said due to massive corruption, through ghost workers, 17 LGs in the state cannot pay salary as, according to him, most of the officials ensured that the names of their relatives were on the payroll, advising that such LGs that were involved in this dilemma should revisit their employment problem if they must pay their wage bills.

He said while the state government will allow the LGs to enjoy full autonomy, they will be subjected to close monitoring on  how they judiciously utilize the allocations being given to them when they  start coming and urged all Nigerlites to keep aside their political, religious and ethnic problems and work towards the development of the state.
Also speaking, Kabiru Abbas disclosed that the allocations being accrued to the local governments have been falling monthly, adding that the allocations for the months of April and May will be worse.
Abbas explained that the joint account is a collection of pool of money collected from local government who have clean financial record and are not indebted and have some funds as left over which are taken to the pool to assist those LGs that cannot pay salaries.
The commissioner disclosed that those whose accounts were in negative in the month of January were Lapai –N27.3m, Lavun -41.8, Chanchaga –N121m, Mokwa –N2.4m, Paikoro -34.5m and Shiroro –N57.2m.
Others are Suleja –N8m, Agaie –N26.9m, Bida -26.9m, Bosso –N30m, Gbako –N11m, Gurara –N18m and Katcha –N46.9m, adding that this means that these local governments have to look inward to ensure that they generate revenue for wage bill payment and carry out development of their areas, reaffirming that  by May, the local governments will handle their affairs.

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