LG Fund: Ogun Govt Funds Shortfall Of N13.59bn Of Monthly Allocation To 20Local Govt In Four Years - Chief Economic Adviser Reveals - EDU-BIZNEWS


Monday, September 4, 2023

LG Fund: Ogun Govt Funds Shortfall Of N13.59bn Of Monthly Allocation To 20Local Govt In Four Years - Chief Economic Adviser Reveals

Ogun State Government has revealed that the Governor Dapo Abiodun's administration has augemented the monthly allocation to the 20 Local Governments with N13.59billion to make up for the deficit from the Federation Account for the past four years

The Chief Economic Adviser to the Governor, Mr Dapo Okubadejo revealed this to newsmen in Abeokuta during a  recent briefing  in the wake of the allegation of diversion of the local Councils monthly allocation since 2021 leveled against the Abiodun's administration by the Suspended Chairman of the Ijebu-East Local Government, Hon. Wale Adedayo 

Okubadejo highlighted the total carried forward from July 2019 to July 2023, which revealed a deficit of N13.591 billion, noting that the State Government takes responsibility for covering the deficit, as it significantly impacts the salaries and pensions of LG staff, primary school teachers, health workers, and traditional council members.

The Chief Economic Adviser  while giving an insight into the effectiveness of the Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC), revealed that the system in operation for several years, saw significant enhancement in 2019 with the introduction of monthly meetings.

According to him,’’ This gathering, held at the esteemed Oba’s Complex, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta brings together representatives from Local Government chairpersons, stakeholders in Local Government administration, and pensioners' associations.The primary focus of this monthly meeting is to openly deliberate on the allocation of Federal Government’s funds to Local Governments and ensure the fair distribution of vital resources’’.

Detailing the monthly process, the Chief Economic Adviser outlined how various agencies, including the Local Government Service Commission, the Ogun State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and the Bureau of Local Government Pensions, prepare vouchers for salaries and pensions. "These first-line charges represent crucial financial commitments that the State government is dedicated to the meeting".

He emphasised the critical point that the JAAC account operates independently of the State GAovernment's accounting processes, being meticulously managed and administered by a specialised team within the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, saying neither the Accountant General nor the Director of State Treasury holds signatory authority over the JAAC account, ensuring its autonomy.

While providing an overview of the allocations in recent years, the Governor’s aide stated that in year 2020, N43.121 billion was budgeted for First Line Charges, while N34.750 billion was received from the federation account for the 20 Local Government Areas, leaving a deficit of N6.619 billion. In 2021, the total allocation released for Local Governments was N38.723 billion, while payment for First Line Charges was N47.845 billion. In 2022, N48.074 billion was allocated to LGs from the federation account, with N54.182 billion needed to cover first-line charges.

 "As we entered 2023, just for this administration alone, we faced a deficit that the State government has paid off almost N17.4 billion. I acknowledged that in January 2023, N7.6 billion was received, slightly exceeding the N7.221 billion total First Line Charges", he further disclosed 

 ‘’In February, the trend returned to the norm, with a lower JAAC allocation and higher First Line Charges of N3.79 billion and N4.3 billion, respectively. This pattern continued in March and April. However, in May, there was an increase of N6.348 billion in JAAC allocation compared to first-line charges of N4.531 billion", he stated 
’"Moreover, approximately two years ago, Governor Dapo Abiodun pledged to pay N500 million every quarter to clear the backlog of gratuities dating back to 2011. This commitment has since been increased to N1 billion, benefiting both State and Local Government staff. The Governor has also directed certain quarterly allocations to be channeled directly to Local Governments for the execution of developmental projects’’, Okubadejo added 

Also speaking, the Secretary to the Ogun State Government (SSG), Mr. Tokunbo Talabi accompanied by other  key government officials, including the Deputy Chief of Staff, Dr. Oluwatoyin Taiwo, stressed that the present administration has always demonstrated its transparency in the allocation and distribution of funds to Local Governments (LG) across the State.

He highlighted intricacies of the Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) system and its indispensable role in the State's financial governance.

Talabi affirmed that there had never been any instance of diversion of statutory allocations or neglect of allocations, underscoring the present administration's effort at ensuring transparency, accountability, and equitable development in the nooks and crannies of the State.
The State Scribe stated that strides achieved in the State over the past few years were in collaboration with Local Government Chairmen.


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