15 Niger Local Government Councils Insolvent, Says Commissioner

Laleye Dipo in Minna

Fifteen out of the 25 local government councils in Niger State are insolvent and depend on the State Joint Local Government Account for survival.

The joint account is a system whereby all monies accruable to all the 25 local governments are deposited into one account after which it is shared according to the law that was passed for that purpose by the state’s House of Assembly.

The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairsm, Mr. Muazu Hamidu Jantabo, disclosed this to newsmen in Minna shortly after assuming office yesterday.

Jantabo, who did not name the 15 LGAs described the joint account “as a product of the law and we cannot change it,” adding that the system is not cumbersome, but “the greatest thing that that will happen to local government administration in the state.”

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He disclosed that his ministry would address the bottlenecks hindering the collection of taxes and levies in order to make the councils viable, stressing that funding is the major bottleneck hindering the effective performance of local governments in the state.

He said: “We will direct the local governments to embark on aggressive revenue collection so that they can serve the people better,” pointing out that the harmonised revenue law that has been operational in the state for one year would address the revenue shortfalls in the local governments.

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Describing local governments as “community based,” Jantabo said that it is, therefore, important for the ministry to engage the traditional rulers to enhance their performance and the security of the state.

The commissioner disclosed that the present administration has set for itself a five point agenda: security, education, urban renewal tourism and infrastructural development for itself, which it would pursue with vigour.

Jantabo was among the 60 commissioners and special Advisers inaugurated by Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago last Monday.

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