Politics

15 Niger Local Government Councils Insolvent, Says Commissioner

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

Thisday paper reported that, 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.

Mr. Muazu Hamidu Jantabo, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, revealed this to newsmen in Minna shortly after taking office yesterday.

The joint account, according to Jantabo, who did not identify the 15 LGAs, is “a product of the law and we cannot change it.” The system is not onerous, but rather “the greatest thing that will happen to local government administration in the state,” he added.

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Stressing that money is the main obstacle impeding the efficient operation of local governments in the state, he said that his ministry would solve the bottlenecks preventing the collection of taxes and levies in order to make the councils sustainable.

The harmonised revenue law, which has been in effect in the state for a year, would address the revenue deficiencies in the local governments, he said. “We will direct the local governments to embark on aggressive revenue collection so that they can serve the people better,” he added.

Jantabo noted that because local governments are “community based,” it is crucial for the ministry to work with the traditional leaders to improve their performance and the security of the state.

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The commissioner said that the current administration has set a five-point plan for itself, which it would vigorously pursue: security, education, urban redevelopment, tourism, and infrastructure development.

On Monday, Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago inaugurated 60 commissioners and special advisers, including Jantabo.

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