Many of these states’ revenue allocations during the year dwarfed the budgets of most neighbouring countries like Liberia ($433 million).
Akwa Ibom and Rivers states received more than $3.1 billion as total federal revenue allocation in 2013, the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said.
The Minister said Akwa Ibom State got about $1.7 billion (N260 billion) from the Federation Account during the year, while Rivers State got about $1.5 billion (took N230 billion).
The minister who was delivering a paper at the Babcock University convocation lecture at Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State on Saturday said the total amount received by the two oil producing states was about half of Ghana’s entire $6.4 billion budget.
The two states, the minister noted, ranked among the top ten highest recipients of the federal allocations during the year totaling over N1.56 trillion.
The other top recipients included Delta State (N209 billion, or $1.3 billion), Bayelsa (N173 billion, or $1.1billion), Lagos (N168billion, or $1.1billion), Kano (N140 billion, or $900 million), and Katsina (N103 billion, or $700 million).
The list also included Oyo State (N100 billion, or $600 million), Kaduna (N97 billion, or $600 million), and Borno (N94 billion, or $600 million).
Ms. Okonjo-Iweala said these were conservative figures, as the data do not include their internally generated revenues, IGR, which are often significantly substantial enough to rival the allocations.
Further analysis of the allocations, the Minister said, shows that many of these states’ revenue allocations during the year dwarfed the budgets of most neighbouring countries like Liberia ($433 million); Gambia ($210 million) and Benin Republic ($1.47 billion).
On a per capita income basis, made up of revenues/population, the top three recipients of revenue allocations from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC, monthly meetings included Bayelsa (N84,500, or $545), Akwa Ibom (N55,600 or $360) and Delta States (N42,000 or $270).
Compared with the per capita income of neighbouring countries, the Minister said many of the states equally receive more than countries like Ghana ($255), Benin Republic ($146), Liberia ($103), and Gambia ($117).
The minister was speaking amid allegations of wastefulness and by some state governments in their use of state funds.
For instance, Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio, has been in the eye of the storm since last week over a controversial Pension Bill, which critics described variously as outrageous, scandalous and wasteful.
At the governor’s behest, the state House of Assembly, had, within days of their receipt of the controversial Bill on May 15, approved a hefty N200 million annual pay for him as benefits when he leaves office in May 2015.
The pension package, pending the governor’s assent, also included N100 million per annum medical allowance for life; a five-bed room luxury maisonette in either Abuja or Uyo and other mouthwatering perks of office.
However, the Minister, who wondered what the governors do with such huge monthly allocations, said in spite of this most of the state governors still have nothing on ground to show for it, in terms of development.
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, whose lecture was entitled: ‘Transforming Nigeria’s economy: Opportunities and challenges’, challenged Nigerians to be up and doing in their patriotic duties as citizens by demanding their governors to account for the huge monies they collect every month on their behalf.
“These states have no reason whatsoever not to develop their states, given the huge amounts they receive regularly from the Federation Account every month,” she said.
She said the states and local governments have a critical role to play in country’s transformation process, pointing out that it was clear the Federal Government could not do it alone.
The country’s Constitution, she noted, stipulates that the provision of public services, such as health, education, and agriculture were on the “concurrent list”, which require the joint efforts of federal, states and local governments.
She expressed regrets that the public appears to be shifting most of these responsibilities, ranging from immunization to supply of agricultural inputs to the federal government.
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala faulted the argument that states and local governments do not have enough resources to provide these services.
“In terms of the resources, I can confidently say based on the available data that our States are reasonably well-resourced. About half of our total government expenditures occur at the sub-national level.
“It is high time Nigerians held their governors accountable for these monies if they are to see accelerated development in their states,” the minister said.
If these states got these huge allocations last year and the people in their domains still talk about poverty, she said, more questions need to be asked about what they did on poverty eradication and building of infrastructure.
In his speech, the President and Vice-Chancellor of the university, James Makinde, restated the institution’s commitment to the pursuit of academic excellence.
He dedicated the convocation to the abducted female pupils of the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.
Mr. Makinde said that of the 1,560 graduands, 44 obtained first class from the university, while about 1,227 others obtained second class upper division, and 59 receiving doctorate degrees.
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala was honoured with the university’s honorary doctorate degrees, alongside Mo Abudu, the Executive Producer of ‘Moments with Mo’, a personality programme on Ebonyi Live TV.
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