Vanguard (Lagos)

28 January 2013

Nigeria: FG, States, LGAs Shared N8.8 Trillion in 2012

Lagos — THE sum of N8.8 trillion was disbursed to the three tiers of government from the Federation Account between January and December 2012 from the statutory and Value Added Tax, VAT, allocations. The receipt came mostly from oil revenue, customs duties and VAT.

According to a table compiled by Economic Confidential, this amount excludes other allocations that were occasionally made to the states from the excess crude account, domestic crude account, SURE-P, NNPC refund and foreign exchange differentials. It also excludes states and councils' internally generated revenue.

This came as outrage trailed the squandering of N80 trillion by the three tiers of government between 2005 and 2013 going by their budget appropriations and allocations to the local councils.

A careful scrutiny of the N8.8 trillion disbursements showed that the states can be conveniently categorized into the 'boys and men's clubs' with a few of the states taking hundreds of billions, others taking a little less and the majority going home with 'paltry' amounts.

Akwa Ibom State appears to be the 'king of boys', coasting home with a princely N217 billion followed by Rivers which received N177 billion and Lagos N168 billion in the 12 months of 2012. States like Ebonyi (N45 billion), Gombe (N48 billion) and Nas arawa (N49billion) emerged as the poorest states. The allocation to the states included the share of their respective local government councils which they cornered since almost all the funds to the councils are controlled by governors who determine the administrators at the third tier of government.

The disparity in the allocations to the states came as a result of the indices developed by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, upon which the monthly disbursements are made by the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC, chaired by the Minister of State for Finance. The indices include population, land mass, derivation, equality, internally generated revenue and other social development factors like school enrolment, hospital beds and road networks.

Outrage greets squandering of N80trn

Director, League for Human Rights, Jos, Mr. Nankin Bagudu, said it was sad that after spending such a huge sum, most of the citizenry were still swimming in poverty.

He said: "If the figures are correct, then they are mind-blowing. There is no way we can spend such huge amount and remain how and where we are today. The challenge then is not the lack of money but using it prudently and creatively."

First civilian Governor of Edo State, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun spoke in like manner, lamenting that the three tiers of government had not provided the much-sought democracy dividends to Nigerians.

His words: "Only a few states are beginning to show that they are trying to put in place democratic dividends for their people. But for the Federal Government, it has not been a success story on the use of its share of the resources to provide democracy dividends for the people. We always raise issues in this country, but we never follow up. So, we always give them the licence to do what they like. It is a sad commentary and one day, the people will rise either with their votes or something. All these nonsense will stop."

On his part, Minority Whip in the House of Representatives, Mr. Samson Osagie, while noting that N80trillion allocation also included funds for personnel cost, however, agreed that not much had been achieved in the provision of democracy dividends to Nigerians in the last nine years.

He said: "I agreed with the principle that not much has been achieved in terms of development. This has been underpinned by corruption cases by the various individuals and people that have managed the resources in the last nine years. Virtually, all the resource managers, since 2007, are facing one form of corruption charges or the other. We also run an expensive government and bureaucracy and that has affected our level of spending in the country."

It has not impacted positively on Nigerians

Chairman, Board of Trustees of International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, INTERSOCIETY, said the N80 trillion spent by the three tiers of government in the past nine years had not impacted on the lives of majority of Nigerians.

Speaking with Vanguard in Onitsha, Umeagbalasi regretted that the chunk of the money was borrowed from local and foreign creditors, adding that even as the country's debt profile continues to rise, the people have continued to wallow in abject poverty.

He said: "This staggering amount ought to have boosted the infrastructure in the country, including power, but the reverse is the case. Every year, Nigerians are given reasons for non-functioning of basic things of life in spite of the enormous resources the country has.

Relatedly, Bauchi State Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Alhaji Bappa Mohammed Dafida, regretted that the N80 trillion was not channelled towards laudable projects that would change the lives of the masses.

According to him, "N80 trillion in nine years is more than enough to take Nigeria out of the woods. But up till now, there is still abject poverty among the people. The question is: Can the federal, state and local governments actually account for the money allocated to them?"

Also, Adamawa State Chairman of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC Alhaji Ibrahim Waziri, said he would not be surprised if 60 to 70 per cent of the N80 trillion went into private pockets as there is nothing on ground to show that such amount was spent on developmental projects.

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