Reps To Stop States Without Elected LG Chairmen From Accessing Capital Market Funds | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Reps To Stop States Without Elected LG Chairmen From Accessing Capital Market Funds

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Posted: Oct 12, 2016 at 12:20 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Ahmed Musa.

ABUJA – The House of Representatives Tuesday moved inches closer to barring state governors with penchant for appointing caretaker chairmen and sole administrators ?from accessing financial instruments from the nation’s capital market.

This followed the passage into second reading of “A bill for an Act to amend the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, to make it mandatory for states to have democratically elected local government councils before such states can access funds from the capital market”.

The amendment bill sponsored by Hon. Edward Gyang Pwajok (SAN), if passed into law would make it mandatory for state governments who want to borrow from the capital market to involve not only their House of Assembly but also elected local governments to consent to such borrowing.

Mr. Pwajok said, “This will make for more Fiscal Responsibility as the public will be involved in the process and it will ensure that state governments respect Section 7 of the Constitution which requires that all local governments must be democratically constituted.

“This amendment Bill also provides for punishment for violations of the law. The principal law only provides for offences without providing the punishment.”

The Plateau-born lawmaker explained that the Bill was a simple amendment that adds provisos to two Sections of the Principal Acts.

He added, “The Bill seeks to increase and streamline the requirements of states desirous of borrowing funds from the Capital Market and this will aid financial transparency and responsibility.”

Pwajok expressed concern that some state governors run the administration of local government areas with different contractions such as caretaker committees or sole administrators in violation of the provisions of the Constitution.

He said, “Having therefore established the autonomy of the Local Government Council as an independent level of government; the structure upon which it is to be run must as of necessity be properly defined.”

Pwajok stressed that the government of every state shall subject to the constitution, ensure that local government councils existed under a law which provided for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils.

“Once that power has been properly exercised, the government of the state has no responsibility of intermeddling with the affairs of the local government councils.

“It should immediately hands off and allow the council to conduct its activities in accordance with the various provisions of the constitution,” he stated.

During the debate on the general principles of the bill, Hon. Leo Ogor (PDP, Delta), the House Minority Leader, said that the amendment would pose a challenge for states to see the need to ensure the existence of democratically elected local government councils.

Ogor also expressed concern that the constitution did not provide penalties for state governments that violate the establishment of democratically elected local government councils.

“Because there are no penalties in this regard, state governments rather work with caretaker committees in clear violation of Section 11 of the Constitution.

“This does not encourage checks and balances in the administration of local government councils,” Ogor argued.

The Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, referred the Bill to the House Committee on Finance for further legislative actions.