The Board of Trustees (BOT) of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has urged state governments in Nigeria to grant total financial autonomy to the Local Governments by giving them free hand to manage the federal allocations that are channeled to them.
In a statement signed by its Chairman, Mallam Adamu Fika, at the end of its meeting in Kaduna on Wednesday, the forum explained that the granting of financial autonomy to the Local Governments will enable them execute projects that have direct bearing on the welfare and development of the people, rather than the use of joint accounts that have in most cases become a conduit pipe for misapplication and abuse of state funds.
While advising the various state governments to respect the constitutional autonomy of the Local Government Councils, the Forum stressed that such autonomy will boost economic activities and generate employment opportunities, especially at the grassroots level.
The ACF also called on all tiers of government to address the issue of payment of back log of domestic debts, especially those owed to local contractors, workers and pensioners emoluments, which will equally revive the economic activities.
It also commended the steps taken by the Federal Government to investigate and repatriate stolen public funds, describing it as not only appropriate and timely, but will also sanitize the system and revive prudence and discipline in the conduct of public officers.
The ACF, while commending the effort of the Federal Government in tackling the Boko Haram insurgency in the north east, expressed optimism that the success being recorded by the military and other security agencies in combating insurgency in the northeast is as a result of the support and encouragement from the Federal Government and the determination of the field commanders to end the insurgency within the time frame given by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Kano State governor, Mr. Abdullahi Ganduje, has set up an Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) Committee to tackle the state’s current financial situation and also reduce over dependence on federal allocations.
The committee which was given four weeks to submit its report will also recommend to the government possible ways of increasing the state’s IGR.
The state is said to have over three billion naira debt to settle, among other liabilities.
The Chairman of the committee, Professor Isah Dandago, a Professor of Accounting from Bayero University, Kano, said he chaired the same committee in 2003, but the report which should have tackled the situation was abandoned by the then government.
The committee is, however, optimistic that the situation will be over if government will work on their recommendation after four weeks.
The governor has also flagged off a 7-day sanitation exercise tagged ‘Keep Kano Clean’, in all the 44 local governments of the state.
Mr. Ganduje also directed the state’s sanitary inspection workers to closely monitor house-to-house compliance.
Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC), may be heading to the court to ask the federal government to explain the several deductions from their federal allocations.
Speaking to journalists after a meeting of the governors in Abuja, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, who is also the chairman of the forum, said that some states in the last few months have had about 40 per cent of the allocations deducted.
He described the deductions as illegal and that every constitutional means will be explored to ensure the deductions are stopped.
Other governors who attended the meeting include Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun state, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state, Governor Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe state and the Deputy Governor of Borno state, Alhaji Umar Mustapha.
On the proposed National Dialogue, the governors said that the Party will make its stand known at the end of their National Executive Committee meeting, which is on-going at the Party’s National secretariat in Abuja.