The Local Government Autonomy bill is a bill for an act to amend Section 162 of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to provide financial autonomy for Local Government Councils. This section deals with Public Revenue and the allocation of funds.
What this bill seeks is the substitution of section 162 subsection (5) which says: The amount standing to the credit of Local Government Councils in the Federation Account shall also be allocated to the State for the benefit of their Local Government Councils on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly
With: Each Local Government Council shall maintain a Consolidated Local Government Account into which shall be paid all allocations to the Councils from the Federation Account, such proportion of State total revenue as may be determined by the State House of Assembly and Local Government Internally Generated Revenue.
The amendment also seeks the removal of subsection 7 and 8 which say:
(7) Each State shall pay to the local governments in its area of jurisdiction such proportion of its revenue on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly.
(8) The amount standing to the credit of the local governments councils of a State shall be distributed among the local governments councils of that State on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly of the State.
This bill has several benefits for service delivery and grassroot development and participation. The attainment of financial independence for local governments will enable the LGs:
- Tackle issues of grassroot development without waiting for any bureaucratic approvals from the state government which tends to influence decisions
- With prompt allocation and available resources, the LG can better perform their functions, and this will greatly accelerate community development and service delivery
- This bill will ensure the dividend of democracy is enjoyed by citizens, as it will bring the government closer to the people
- Accountability and transparency will be easily monitored by citizens.
As active citizens who are concerned about grassroot development, we should do everything possible within the provision of the law to ensure we get local government autonomy