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NULGE restates call for LG's financial autonomy

28 January 2013, 16:10

Abuja - The National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), has restated its call for Local Governments to be granted financial autonomy to enable them manage their activities.

Abdulrahman Mutawalli, the National Publicity Secretary of the union, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.

He said that granting such autonomy would strengthen the local government system.

He said that the union was equally canvassing for the removal of the payment of primary school teachers from the schedule of local government.

``This is to enable it to have enough funds to execute capital projects that will bring desired development to the grassroots.’’

Mutawalli said that until the observed anomalies were corrected in the planned review of the constitution, development would continue to elude the grassroots.

He said that the union had sent a memorandum to the Revenue Allocation and Fiscal Commission on the illegal and over deduction of local government fund to pay primary school teachers.

``There are also series of litigations instituted by NULGE and Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) against the federal and state governments on the operation of the Joint State Local Government Account.

``There is also the over deduction of primary school teachers’ salaries and the shifting of responsibilities of running primary education to local governments. ‘’

Mutawalli said that the climax of judicial interventions was the Supreme Court judgment declaring that the responsibility of funding of primary school education rested with state governments.

He criticised those advising the House of Representatives to withdraw its support for the financial independence of local government councils.

``We call on the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) not to allow itself to be used against the people at the grassroots,’’ Mutawalli said.

NAN recalls that the NUT had advised the House of Representatives to withdraw its support for the financial independence of local government councils.

The National President of NUT, Mr Michael Olukoya, had said that granting financial independence to local councils would destroy the primary education system in Nigeria.

He said that such would entail abolishing the State and Local Council Joint Account and would be counter-productive to primary education.

Olukoya said that between 1990 and1994 when primary education was under the control of local governments, teachers were owed salaries for between six and 12 months.

He pointed out that those who retired during the period were not paid their pensions and gratuities.

``The only alternative will be to transfer the responsibility for the payment of salaries to the state governments to guarantee uninterrupted and unfettered primary school education in the country.

``It is, therefore, our prayer that the House of Representatives will do all it can to persuade its members and the entire National Assembly to retain the state/local government joint account.

``In the alternative, they should provide for the salaries of primary school teachers from first line charge from the Federation Account,’’ Olukoya had said.

NAN

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