Kwara APC, government feud over council allocations
Kwara State Government yesterday denied any form of interference, stressing that local government funds accruing to the state are administered by the respective executive chairpersons through the Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) and based on parameters set by law.
Senior Special Assistant (Media and Communication) to the state governor, Dr. Muideen Akorede, made the clarifications while responding to claims by the gubernatorial candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazak, that the government diverts local government funds.
Akorede said the state government sees the claim as uninformed and false as it neither diverts nor otherwise interferes with the local government finances, denying claims that the joint project account was responsible for the low level of development and poverty at the local government level.
On the contrary, he added, the drop in federal allocation to local government councils caused salary arrears and the unfortunate hardship being experienced by local government workers and pensioners.He attributed the relative lack of development at the local government level to the same drop in allocation to councils, stressing that current inflows barely cover basic obligations, leaving no room for development projects.
Akorede further disclosed that while the state-local government joint projects account accelerated infrastructure development at local levels, the scheme was stopped years ago following the sustained reductions in federal allocations due to sharp drop in global oil prices. He said the scheme could therefore not be responsible for the current challenges referred to by the APC candidate, even as he urged the candidate to refrain from making misleading pronouncements about governance in the state.
The state government emphasised that it has always supported local governments to meet their obligations including augmenting shortfalls in their allocation.“These interventions, include loans, releasing a significant proportion of revenue inflows such as the Paris Club refunds and the monthly disbursement of 10 per cent of state government’s internal revenue to the local government councils,” he added.
However, the media aide to APC guber candidate, Rafiu Ajakaye, sustained the allegation, saying: “We urge the state government to stop hiding behind one finger. The so-called ‘consent agreement’ by which council heads are asked to sign for money they hardly receive is nothing but monumental fraud and the Kwara public is aware of this.
“How much, for instance, does Ilorin West Local Government earn from federal allocation? What is its wage bill? What project is it pursuing as a council to warrant inability to pay salary? Who awards contracts in the name of the council, if any, and to what end? Same posers apply to others too. The people know the truth. And we know that the government itself doesn’t believe its own lie.”
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