ABEOKUTA – Ogun State Government on Tuesday, August 29, 2023, said that the Prince Dapo Abiodun-led administration has often had to augment the funds allocated to local governments in the state from the Federation Account to enable them to meet their obligations.
The government, in its reaction to a letter credited to the Chairman of Ijebu East Local Government, Mr Wale Adedayo, alleging zero revenue allocation to local governments in the state since 2021, said it had never tampered with local government funds.
It wondered how adding to the funds allocated to the local councils to enable them to meet their obligations amounted to hijacking their funds.
It said that funds meant for local governments in the state are being handled by the constitutionally recognised Joint Account and Allocation Committee (JAAC).
In a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the state governor, Mr. Lekan Adeniran, the government said that JAAC members ensure that the third tier of government gets the required allocations for optimal performance.
It noted that the latest meeting by the JAAC was held last week, and was widely reported in the media.
At the meeting, which was held at the Conference Hall, Oba’s Complex, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, over N5bn was shared among the 20 local government areas, out of which over N2 billion went into paying teachers.
“Between May 2023 when the Governor was sworn in for the second term and July 2023, the JAAC shared among 20 local governments N4.531b, N4.444b and N4.497b respectively on first line charges and just last week N5.2b was shared among the local governments for the month of August “the statement said.
The JAAC, according to the statement, comprises major stakeholders in local government administration, including the Chief Economic Adviser to the governor, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Accountant General of the State, Permanent Secretary, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, all 20 local government chairmen, one representative from each of the four Traditional Councils in the state, representative of SUBEB, NULGE, local govt pensioners, retired primary school teachers, Local Government Service Commission, Local Government Pension Commission and NUT.
It has the mandate to meet every month to ensure that allocations to local governments are discussed and properly presented for fund allocation.
At such meetings, the state government makes full disclosure of the receipt from the federation account.
First-line charges, including local government staff salaries and pensions; primary school teachers’ salaries and pensions; healthcare workers’ salaries and pensions and emoluments for traditional rulers are tabled for discussion and fund allocation at the JAAC meetings, the statement said.
The statement added that this same pattern has been followed since Prince Dapo Abiodun took over the leadership of the state in 2019.
Governor Abiodun, the statement said, recently directed the local governments to identify critical roads that required government attention in their domains, with some already commissioned.
In the same vein, many schools have been rehabilitated, while others are undergoing renovation.
“In addition to these, the state government also disburse funds to all local governments for developmental projects periodically,” the statement added.