Members of House of Representatives has renewed movements to separate the joint account between states and Local Government Areas, LGA, as well as the process of ensuring local government autonomy.
The effort which the State Houses of Assembly started during the 7th Assembly, seeks to amend Section 162 of the 1999 Constitution and ensure financial autonomy of Local Government Councils.
Leading the debate on the matter, the sponsor of the bill Nkiruka Onyejeocha, on Wednesday, November 2, explained that the proposed amendment when passed into law will foster the autonomy, transparency and accountability of local government administration in the country.
Speaking on the issue, Onyejeocha said:
“The practices of true federalism is lacking in Nigeria, especially at the local government level. Some state governments deprive their local governments of principal source of their revenues.
“Unless more stable internal source of revenue are exploited, and state-local government joint account abolished, the objective of strengthening local governments in terms of its relationship with state and federal governments will remain a mirage.”
According to her, the state of deprivation and under-development of LGA Councils across the country is alarming and by approving the bill, the councils in the country will have financial autonomy through which all funds from the Federation Account shall be paid directly.
The lawmaker continued:
“The disbursement of the fund shall be effected through a Bye-law passed by the Local Government Legislative Council, and with this joint account in place, many state governments starve local governments of funds, especially funds accruing from the federation account.”
Onyejeocha also said the bill will help guarantee employment to local government councils and enable the Local Government Councils to perform their constitutional duties.
Meanwhile, the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara who presided over the plenary referred the bill to the Special Adhoc Committee on Constitution Review, chaired by Deputy Speaker Yussuff Lasun, for further legislative action.