FCT minister threatens to withhold Area Council funds for poor performance

Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory and Chairperson of the FCT Area Councils Joint Account Allocation Committee, Jumoke Akinjide, has warned that the FCT Administration would withhold the monthly allocation of the Area Councils that fail to deliver service to the people in their domains.

The minister told reporters at the end of revenue allocation meeting with officials of the six Area Councils in the FCT that the Administration was not satisfied with the level of development in the various area councils in spite of huge monthly allocations they have been receiving, adding that henceforth allocations would be based on performance and submission of monthly report on utilization of the funds.

The minister said the FCTA has also adopted a reward and sanction system of administration for the area councils in the FCT as part of measures to improve the level of performance and development of the Territory.

“We have invigorated the monitoring and inspection department of the FCTA to effectively monitor the Area Councils,” he said. “We are also going to have a consultant that will give an independent assessment of work done in the Area Councils.”

He told the Council officials that as part of the monitoring and supervisory functions, a special department has been authorised to withhold some funds from Area Councils if the FCTA is not satisfied with the level of implementation and judicious utilization of funds.

“If our monitoring and implementation report for an Area Council for a particular month is unsatisfactory, then we will withhold money until amendment and correction and rectification of that particular act has been done,” he warned.

“When we are happy with that Area Council’s performance, and when they start providing the services that is expected to the FCT residents in their locality, then we will release the withheld money. I think that it is our constitutional rights to withhold the money until we are so sure that it is well used. There is no point saying that we are monitoring without taking action if we feel that money is not properly being used.”

From the April 2012 allocation, the minister said primary schools teachers in the FCT got an allocation of about N776.58 million out of a total of N1.591 billion received by the FCT Administration for Area Councils from the Federation Accounts Allocation.

Out of N1.591 billion received from the Federation Account for the FCT Area Councils was made up of Statutory Revenue Allocation of N723.22 million; Value Added Tax (N724.46 million); FCT’s 10 per cent Internally General Revenue (N120.29 million); and share of the refund of N7.617billion by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation for the N450billion indebtedness to the Federation Account (N23.10 million).

A breakdown of the allocation showed that the six Area Councils shared about N703.55 million,  including Abuja Municipal, N153.1 million; Bwari, N119.29 million; Gwagwalada, N118.75 million; Abaji, N118.67 million; Kuje,N100.34 million, and Kwali, N93.38 million, while 15 per cent deduction was for Pension Fund (N95.04 million) and one per cent deduction was for Training Fund (N15.91 million).

“I wish to make known that FCTA runs a very transparent and open system of governance as we do not tamper with funds to the local government councils,” Mr. Akinjide said. “I am saying this with high sense of responsibility and sincerity. We are not deducting money from the Area Councils, except what is statutorily deducted and it is not for us to hold, but it is deducted for paying teachers’ salaries, paying pensions and training of employees.”


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