The Chairman, Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Public Accounts, Saka Fafunmi, has accused state governments across the country of taking advantage of the joint account they have with the local governments to exploit them.
He said this has been a major challenge and had affected the progress of local governments across the nation.
He also accused the Federal Government of taking a larger chunk of the revenue that should be used for the development of the grassroots, thus rendering the local governments handicapped.
“I am of the view that local governments need to be given more level of autonomy.
“The state has actually taken advantage of the constitutional lacuna and it is not as if what the state has done is unconstitutional.
“If we look at the fifth schedule of the constitution, we have the backing for what the state government is doing, and any area, where we need to make laws to enhance the activities of the local governments, the state government embraces it and we have taken up the responsibility.
“What I think we need to do to move forward based on the complaints from all the chairmen of the local government councils is to ensure that the agencies of government serve as mere regulatory agencies.
“If we look at the revenue sharing formula in Nigeria, what percentage of the federation’s earnings goes into the 774 constitutionally recognised local councils?
“Most of the money is being controlled by the Federal Government, whereas the local governments are closer to the people.
“Instead of allocating so many resources to the centre, why not let the local governments have more, but what we have now are the Federal Government and the states,” he said.
Fafunmi said that from his dealing with the councils in the state, he had realised that local governments need to be given more money if the country is serious about development.
Asked to comment on how effective the local councils in Lagos manage their revenue, he said most of these local governments are not as buoyant as people think.
“Let us look at Ikorodu Local Government; I don’t know their population, but Ikorodu has been divided into six local councils; Ikorodu and other five LCDAs; Ikorodu, Ijede, Imota, Igbogbo Baiyeku, Ikorodu North and Ikorodu West.
“When you now look at what goes into Ikorodu that would be shared among the six councils, you would be amazed,” he said, adding that is why the state government is doing working hard to support the councils in the state.