• Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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No access to statutory allocations, poor IGR responsible for LGs weak finance base – Experts

Naira gains 21.50% in 4days as demand slows

Experts have said the finance base of the local government councils, is weak due to lack of access to their statutory allocations and inability to generate reasonable Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

They also observed that the local government is the weakest tier of government, despite being the nearest to the people. They lamented the lack of general infrastructure and working equipment at that level of governance.

The experts drawn from among the academia, technocrats, administrators and trade unions made these observations at a two-day national stakeholders conference organised by the Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs in Abuja.

The conference was themed: “Harnessing Grassroots Potentials for Service Delivery and for Sustainable National Development: The Proper Place of Local Government Administration and Inter-Governmental Relations”.

In a communique’ issued at the end of the conference and signed by Ibiene Roberts, permanent secretary of the ministry, the stakeholders said political interference by the state government in local government administration was unhealthy.

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According to the communique, there was lack of understanding by both the State and Local Government actors on the importance of autonomy for the third tier of government.

This, it said contributed to the non-inclusion of local government autonomy bill in the recent alteration of the Constitution.

The communique’ reads in parts: “Qualified manpower exists at the Local Government Level. The problem is that of underutilisation and motivation.

“Inadequate education, sensitisation and advocacy on the importance of Local Government at the grassroot level. Absence of regular consultation among the three tiers of government.

“The meeting acknowledged the robust assistance from International Development Partners to Local Government over the years.

“Unpredictability in the tenure of Local Government political office holders is not healthy for sustainable development at that level. Policy decisions are more of top-down than bottom-up at the Local Government level.”

The experts called for the adoption of a federal system that will provide for a more autonomous and workable local government system and improvement of the general working condition and the “conditions of service” in the Local Government.

They also endorsed the proposal to establish a National Council on Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs to enable the ministry function better and enhance development at the third tier of government.

“Retired and experienced public officers should be encouraged to go back to their Local Government and take active interest in the development of their Local Government.

“There is need for increased sensitisation and advocacy as a means of raising awareness on the importance of Local Government Administration as a grassroots Government for National Development.

“There is need for improved Inter-governmental Relations through the Institutionalisation of regular meetings and interactions amongst the three tiers of government.

“Engage the International and Development Partners for increased support to the Local Governments. Guarantee the tenure of elected Local Government Leaders to ensure policy implementation, continuity and development.

“The participatory approach to local development (bottom – up) should be encouraged at the local level,” the communique’ added.

While declaring the conference open, George Akume, the minister of special duties and intergovernmental affairs said most Nigerians live in the rural areas hence, there was need to give attention to the grassroots.

“This is the reason why the debate on the devolution of power has been kept on the front burner for a long time,” Akume said, adding that Nigeria opted to run a three tier of government for development to spread to the local governments.

The former Benue state governor said the National Council for the ministry was established to advise it on issues that will bring development at the grassroots.

He assured that the recommendations of the stakeholders and experts at the conference will be taken to the Federal Executive Council for prompt action.