The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has revealed that the top 10 recipients of Federation Account allocation in 2013 were Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa and Lagos States. Others in the top 10 bracket included Kano, Katsina, Oyo, Kaduna and Borno States.
The minister, who stated this in Ilishan, Ogun State yesterday, said it was not just the federal government that should be accountable to Nigerians but also the states and local governments, which should frequently account for how they manage the resources steadily accruing to them from the Federation Account.
She said Nigerians no longer ask questions about the roles and responsibilities of the states and local governments in the country's development matrix. Okonjo-Iweala equally suggested that other than the obvious challenges that currently impede the development, the country was perhaps mostly challenged by the absence of a sustainable social contract amongst her citizenry.
She stated that such social contract should be one in which every Nigerian agrees on some standard norms of behaviour within local communities, places of work, civil society groups and ultimately, the nation.
The minister said at the commencement address she delivered at the 12th convocation ceremony and award of degrees to graduating students of Babcock University, Ilishan, that Nigeria's constitution provides for clear-cut complementary roles of the federating units in the country but at the moment, some parts of the units do not live up to such constitutional roles.
Okonjo-Iweala, who was conferred with the degree of Doctor of Science in Global Economic Development by the university, however, stated that some states relative to others had done well in putting up sustainable measures to drive their economic development.
She provided lucid details of the federal government's efforts at developing Nigeria's economy but said such efforts required complementary support from other federating units in the country that partake in sharing her revenues on a monthly basis.
"Clearly, the federal government cannot do it alone in transforming Nigeria. What should be the role of our state and local governments in supporting our transformation? We know from the constitution that the provision of many public services such as health, education, agricultural services fall under the concurrent list and so are the joint responsibilities of federal, states and local governments.
"However, it appears most responsibilities, from immunisation to supply of agricultural inputs, have now been pushed solely to the federal government," she said.
The minister asked: "Do states have the resources to deliver on these? And why do some states happen to do more than others? How can we hold our states and local governments more to account, just as we hold the federal government to account?"
She further stated that in terms of the resources and based on the available data the states are fairly well resourced.
"About half of our total government expenditure occur at the sub-national level; and if you look at allocations to states and local governments, there are some interesting trends," she said. In justifying her claims that most states in the country are adequately funded, the minister reeled out the cumulative revenue that accrued to the 10 top states from the Federation Account in 2013.
"In 2013, the top 10 allocations went to the following states: Akwa Ibom (N260 billion or $1.7 billion), Rivers (N230 billion or $1.5 billion), Delta (N209 billion or $1.3 billion), Bayelsa (N173 billion or $1.1 billion), Lagos (N168 billion or $1.1 billion), Kano (N140 billion or $0.9 billion), Katsina (N103 billion or $0.7 billion), Oyo (N100 billion or $0.6 billion), Kaduna (N97 billion or $0.6 billion), and Borno (N94 billion or $0.6 billion).
"Note that all this data do not include internally generated revenue (IGR) of these states, which are significant in some instances such as Lagos State, and very commendable.
"Many Nigerian states receive revenue allocations which are larger than the budgets of neighbouring countries such as Liberia ($433 million), Gambia ($210 million) or Benin Republic ($1.47 billion). The top two recipients of state allocations - Akwa Ibom and Rivers - received $3.2 billion combined, which is about half of the entire budget of Ghana (about $6.4 billion)," she said.
On a per capita basis, the minister further revealed that the top three recipients of FAAC allocations in 2013 were Bayelsa (N84,500 or $545 per annum), Akwa Ibom (N55,600 or $360 per annum) and Delta (N42,000 or $270 per annum), adding that on a per capita basis, many Nigerian states performed much better than neighbouring countries such as Ghana ($255 per annum), Benin Republic ($146 annum), Liberia ($103 annum) and Gambia ($117 annum).
Following from this, she asked Nigerians to equally probe the financial management of states and local governments in relation to the level of development in the states.
"It is clear from these analyses that we should be expecting more from our states and local governments. Some states even with limited resources appear to have performed very well.
"School enrolment rates appear to have improved in Anambra and Gombe States. Jigawa State has also worked to improve its infrastructure, same as in Ekiti and Ondo that have done very well in health care, while Lagos has been able to open up its environment.
"But many others are still lagging behind when you look at provision of basic public services such as primary health care, education, community infrastructure and so on.
"I am convinced that our transformation will not be complete until we are able to improve the delivery of public services by our states and local governments," Oknojo-Iweala added.
On the need to develop a social contract that will help sustain the gains recorded by Nigeria in her development, she said: "Let me stress that the biggest challenge we face in transforming Nigeria today is how to build a social contract among all Nigerians. A contract in which we all agree on some standard norms of behaviour within our local communities, our places of work, our civil society groups and ultimately, in our nation.
"But for this social contract to work, citizens must agree on some common principles. And both government and the governed must be aware of their rights and responsibilities. In some instances in Nigeria, I am worried that this social contract appears to be in serious trouble.
"For example, look at the power sector. Government may work tirelessly to invest in laying pipelines to deliver gas to power plants. But the next moment, some of our own citizens go ahead and vandalise this infrastructure for their narrow personal and political interests."
She pointed out that the federal government may invest the common wealth in laying electricity cables around the country, only to see selfish individuals destroying and stealing these cables for their own private interests.
"There is also the vandalism of our oil pipelines, stealing of our national crude oil, vandalism of telecoms base stations, stealing of solar panels on our highways, kidnappings for ransoms, abduction of schoolgirls, and killing of our fellow citizens as Boko Haram has recently done.
"Is this the way to treat our fellow citizens and to deliver on a social contract among all Nigerians? Nigerians need to show a degree of outrage at those perpetrating such acts," she stressed.
Stating that the social contract must be sacrosanct, Okonjo-Iweala said: "When I look around many other countries in the world such as Ghana or Malaysia or Thailand or the US, it appears that for most countries, their citizens have some areas of common national agreement which are sacrosanct, or no-go areas."
She, however, said citizens can demonstrate when they are unhappy but advised against vandalism of national infrastructure.
"They can vent their frustrations at government but they should not spill the blood of their fellow citizens. They may insult their politicians but never, ever insult their nation," she said.