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ALGON CHAIRMAN CANVASSES REVIEW OF REVENUE SHARING FORMULA

By NBF News

The Chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) in Ogun State, Mr. John Obafemi has canvassed a reduction in monthly allocation to the Federal Government. Whatever accrued from the deduction, according to him, should be shared between the state and local governments which are closer to the people than the Federal Government.

His words: ''The formula for distributing allocation in the states as at today is lopsided. The Federal Government takes about 52.68percent, of the allocation, the state allocated paltry 26.72 percent and Local government allocated poor percentage of 20.06 percent.

Obafemi who is also the Chairman of Remo North Local Government said: 'I have been canvassing that unless the Local governments are adequately funded, development at the grassroots level would be difficult to achieve. You will agree with me that the load is heaviest at the local government level than at the Federal and state levels.

Continuing, he said: ''If the Federal Government is taking close to about 53 percent of the allocation every month and you want development to come from the grassroots, how do we achieve this. With the re-current expenditure , the current salaries bill, emoluments to members of staff, health workers, the teachers. At times, we spend 80 percent of our total revenue on monthly basis on salaries and wages.

''A situation where the recurrent expenditure is higher than capital expenditure, there is no how good development can be achieved. I am appealing to the Federal Government that the allocation to each of tier of government should be reviewed to ensure that we are able to develop from the bottom to top.

This can be achieved through the increase of the current allocation of the Local Government to not less than 30 percent and the state current allocation be increased to about 40 percent and the Federal Government jumbo allocation be reduced to 30 percent.

According to him, the 30 percent allocation of the Federal Government should include the salaries and wages of the primary school teachers. It is highly time the Federal Government took away the responsibilities of the Local Government paying primary schools teachers. I can assure you that within four years, you will be amazed at the kind of transformation in the country.

'' I am saying this because when you look at the revenue allocated to some Federal ministries, you will wonder what exactly they do to warrant such. For example, look at the Federal Ministries of Agriculture, Education and Health among others.

Asking rhetorically, Obafemi said: ''Why does the Federal Government need to allocate such yearly budget to its Ministry of Agriculture when as a matter of fact, agriculture is being practiced at the local and state levels?

''I often asked the Federal Government, where is your cassava and cocoa plantations, where is your plantation that you require such huge sum of money . I think all the Federal Government needs to do is mere policy formulation and leave the execution to both the state and local governments.

Let me take the issue of education too. In Ogun State, I don't know of any primary school owned by the Federal Government. I only know of two secondary schools, one at Odogbolu and another one at Sagamu and probably one University, one College of Education and a polytechnic whereas in Remo North Local Government Area alone, we have 21 public primary schools and other private primary schools.

'We also have secondary schools and the state also has a polytechnic here too. Now tell me, who needs the Ministry of Education. Is it the local and state governments? or the Federal Government. I don't think the Federal Government needs to spend so much money on the Federal Ministry of Education as it is currently doing. What I think they should just do is to formulate the policies and give it to both the local and state governments to implement it.

'Let me take the Ministry of Health. In this council area, the Federal Government has no single tertiary institution, yet the Remo North Local Government has no fewer than 12 health institutions and the state has many. At the state level, the Federal government has only two tertiary institutions, the Federal Medical Centre and the Neuro Psychiatric Hospital both in Abeokuta.

'You can imagine, how many general, state and teaching hospitals are being run by the state government. Why should the Federal Government be spending so much money in establishing and maintaining the Federal Ministry of Health. I can go on and on. I suggest that the Federal Government should decentralize.

Obafemi who aspires to represent his people at the House of Representatives in the next political dispensation said: '' We need to re-distribute the resources of this country which is currently lopsided to the disadvantage of Nigerians at the grassroots and state levels.

''By the grace of God, when we get to the National Assembly, we will be able to re-channel our resources for gainful and proper means. As currently constituted, the Federal Government is wasting a lot of money on these ministries, it has to stop in the interest of Nigeria and her people.