Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate has initiated moves to amend certain sections of the 1999 Constitution, following calls by stakeholders and the Federal Government to abrogate the existing joint account between states and local governments.
Constitution Alteration Bill has already passed first reading. Rose Oko from Cross River State is the sponsor of the Bill.
The eighth National Assembly tried without success to pass the amendment. If the amendment must scale through, two-third of senators or 73 out of 109 members must vote to approve it.
In the House of Representatives which is expected to approve the same amendment, it must have its own two-third or 240 out of the 360 members.
If the Bill scales through, two-third state Houses of Assembly, which is equivalent to 24 state Assemblies, must give concurrence before it could be signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Details of the new Bill which was obtained by Daily Sun, “seeks to alter the Constitution to abrogate the State Joint Local Government Accounts and empower each Local Government Council to maintain its own special account to be called Local Government Allocation Account into which all allocations due to the Local Government Council shall be paid directly from the Federation Account and from the Government of the State.”
It further states that “the Federation shall maintain a special account to be called “the Federation Account” into which shall be paid all revenues collected by the Government of the Federation, except proceeds from the Personal Income Tax of the personnel of the Armed Forces of the Federation, the Nigeria Police, the Ministry or department of government charged with responsibility for Foreign Affairs and the residents of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, shall table before the National Assembly proposals for revenue allocation from the Federation Account, and in determining the formula, the National Assembly shall take into account, the allocation principles especially those of population, equality of States, internal revenue generation, land mass, terrain as well as population density.
“Provided that the principle of derivation shall be constantly reflected in any approved formula as being not less than thirteen per cent of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account directly from any natural resources.
“Any amount standing to the credit of the Federation Account shall be distributed among the Federal and State Governments and the Local Government Councils in each state on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly.
“Any amount standing to the credit of the States and Local Government Councils in the Federation Account shall be distributed among the States and Local Government Councils on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.
“Each Local Government Council shall maintain a special account to be called Local Government Council Allocation Account” into which shall be paid directly such allocations to the Local Government Council from the Federation Account and from the Government of the State.”
The Bill also seeks to make it constitutionally mandatory for state governments to pay a portion of their internally generated revenues to local governments as may be determined by state Assemblies.
It reads: “Each State shall pay to Local Government Councils in its area of jurisdiction such proportion of its internally generated revenue on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly.