Constitutionalreview: Amendment for LGAs to have their own separate account

by Opeoluwa Quadri

It is important that LGAs are given a considerable level of financial autonomy. The absence of this is perhaps responsible for lack of vibrancy at that level as well as citizens apathy.

The amendment of the constitution which has already been passed by the both houses of the National Assembly is aimed at separating the LGA account from the state government account. In other words, putting an end to the Joint account system operated and sanctioned by the 1999 constitution. If the bill passed, it means Local government will be operating a separate and independent account, and their allocation or whatever funds that accrue to them would be paid directly to such account.

Sections of the constitution to be altered

Section 162(6): Each state shall maintain a special account called “State Joint Local Government Account” into which shall be paid all allocations to the Local Government Councils of the State from the Federation Account and from the Government of the State”

Alteration

  1. Mandating the State House of Assembly to set aside a portion of the IGR generated in the States that must be paid into the LGA account.
  2. Mandating 10% of the revenues accruing to the federation be saved before the deductions and sharing to different tiers of Government are made.
  3. Separation of the State Accounts from LGA Accounts and mandating the direct credit of LGA funds into the LGA Accounts.

Implications

  • It gives LGAs a high degree of financial autonomy
  • Allocation from the FG would be paid directly to the LGA account
  • Citizens can hold LGAs accountable for every fund they received
  • Puts at bay the issue of poor governance at the local government level
  • Guarantees the certainty of the funding without interference from the state

Current Status

The bill has been passed by both houses of the National Assembly

Requirements for the Amendment to take effect

  • Passage by the National Assembly
  • At least 24 out of the 36 State Assemblies must pass ayes vote for the amendment to stand
  • Presidential Assent

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