A member of the House of Representatives, Mr Henry Nwawuba, on Wednesday advocated the sharing of the 13 per cent derivation fund among states and local governments in oil-producing areas.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an interview in Abuja that giving part of the derivation directly to the local governments would make for fiscal autonomy of the third-tier of government.
According to Nwawuba, who represents Mbaitoli/Ikeduru constituency of Imo, fiscal autonomy of local governments is not only imperative for national economic revival but necessary for political stability.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari on Sept. 13 expressed willingness to support anything, including a bill that favoured local government’s autonomy.
Subscribing to the president’s position, he said, “it is a constitutional matter; however, it is extremely welcome. It will bring development to the grassroots.
“We should ensure that local governments benefit from the 13 per cent derivation to the local governments that contribute something to the Federation Account,’’ Nwawuba said.
On the issue of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) supervising local government elections, Nwawuba said “it is proper.
“It is proper for INEC to supervise local government elections for credible results. It is a roadmap to promoting prosperous grassroots and reducing poverty.’’
He said that the issue of checks and balances would be effectively addressed with political autonomy of the third-tier government.
According to him, the constitutional review will go a long way in strengthening the current process, and we may end up strengthening Independent Electoral Commissions of the states.
The lawmaker called for collective efforts of all stakeholders in returning local government to the aim of its creation in 1976.
He said that until local government became autonomous, the rural people would continue to be far from the impact of government at the centre.
Nwawuba condemned corruption among some local government chairmen, and warned against any act of personal enrichment.
He explained that the era of multiplication of number of staff for selfish and corrupt purposes was over, adding that such was the bane of local government development. (NAN)