Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –By Albert OGRAKA:
Chairman of Oshimili South local government area of Delta state, Barr. Chucks Obusom has re-emphasized the need for a review of the revenue sharing formula from the federation accounts allocation to the third tier of government as rudiment for local government autonomy.
Obusom made the call during a media dialogue and stewardship testimonial with outgoing local government council chairmen, organized by the Delta State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Monday, September 25, 2017 at the NLC Secretariat (Labour House), Asaba.
He said that granting local government autonomy without reviewing the revenue sharing formula would lead to a crisis situation if the status quo is sustained, adding that there is an urgent need for increase in local government allocation from the federation accounts to relax the current trend of huge wage bills of the local governments since they are encumbered with the payment of local government staff and teachers’ salaries.
Obusom however insisted that the Delta state government, under Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, has not at anytime shortchanged the local government councils in allocations accruing to them, saying that the state government has often times aided the councils with supplementary funds to cushion the effects of the cash crunch in the third tier in the state.
He revealed that upon resumption in office, he ensured the reformation of the indigenization policy of the local government which was hitherto abused by non indigenes who claim to be from Asaba.
According to him, “I have therefore devised a strategy of ensuring that indigenes are not denied of their socio-economic benefits by personally signing the local government identification certificates. The strategy has yielded results as I presently have over 50 unclaimed certificates of illegal claimants.”
He disclosed that Oshimili South local government is cautiously addressing issues of ghost workers, following the recent introduction of the clock-in and clock-out exercise which drastically reduced the council’s monthly wage bill from N76 million to N70 million.
The council boss, who expressed worry over the poor sanitation situation in Asaba which serves as both Oshimili South local government headquarter and Delta state capital, said the filthy nature of the urban town is occasioned by lack of effective collaboration between the council and relevant agencies of the state government.
Obusom further stated that in order to check fraud and ensure accountability for enhanced internally generated revenue profile in Oshimili South local government council, his administration halted the revenue cash payment by ensuring that all revenue receipts are made through the council’s bank account.
He however pointed out that although the council has made advancement in its socio-economic development strategies by providing an enabling environment for investors, there were still plans to build a modern motor park, upgrading of the Oshimili South Arcade, establishment of a cemetery and expansion of the Ogbeogonogo modern market among others.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Delta State Council, Comrade Michael Ikeogwu said the aim of the programme is to dialogue with outgoing Council Chairmen in the State to enable them speak on their stewardship in the past three years.
According to the NUJ boss, “The move is for journalists to perform a their watchdog responsibilities to society as well as give vent to our constitutional obligation of upholding the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people.”
Comrade Ikeogwu also noted that the dialogue will run from September 25 to October 23, 2017 with Oshimili Noth and South blazing the trail, while Ughelli North and South will end the exercise.
Accordingly Oshimili North and South will take their turn tomorrow while Aniocha North and South will hold on Wednesday.
Ika North-East and South- September 29, Ndokwa East, West and Ukwuani- October 4, while Warri Noth and South- October 6, Warri South-West and Burutu- October 9 and Isoko North and South- October 11.
Bomadi and Patani- October 13, Uvwie and Udu- October 16, Ethiope East and West- October 18, While Okpe and Sapele- October 20 and Ughelli North and South- October 23.
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Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –
E.I.C: Albert Eruorhe Ograka