LG Funds Diversion: Gov Abiodun Rolls Out More Facts And Figures

LG Funds Diversion: Gov Abiodun Rolls Out More Facts And Figures

The Ogun State government has rolled out more facts and figures concerning the allegation of diversion of statutory allocation to the local governments (LGs) in the state levelled against Governor Dapo Abiodun.

Naija News recalls that the now suspended Chairman of Ijebu East Local Government, Wale Adebayo, had accused Governor Abiodun of diverting LG allocation for about two years.

The state government, through the Chairman of Economic Advisers and commissioner designate, Mr Dapo Okubadejo, has therefore rolled out figures to back the dismissal of the allegations further.

During a briefing to give more clarity on the matter, Okubadejo noted that “The process of local government account, financing or funding started many years ago, with the introduction of what we refer to as the Joint Account Allocation Committee, JAAC. That’s the body responsible for the administration and management of the local government’s direct allocation from the federal government.

“When His Excellency took over the administration in 2019, and because of his pledge to be accountable and also be transparent, the Joint Account Allocation meeting started not long after that. That meeting is the one that is held every month. It is this administration that commenced, after a long time, the organization of the Joint Account Allocation meeting every month on the allocation of funds from the federal government to the local government and also the distribution of it.

“And that meeting comprises of representatives of local government chairmen and all the regular stakeholders in local government administration. So, you have local government chairmen, the association of pensioners, members of the traditional council, and all other members that are seated every month at the Oba’s Complex to discuss every month how much comes in for local governments and how that money is distributed.

“Now, the process is that the Joint Account Allocation Committee account is a completely separate account from the state government’s accounting process. It is managed and administered by different sets of staff that are involved in local government administration in the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.

“The account and signatories are separate from the State government. The Accountant General and the Director of Treasury are not signatories to the JAAC.

“On a monthly basis, the Local Government Service Commission prepares the vouchers of salaries and allowances of local government staff, SUBEB prepares that of all primary school teachers, Bureau of Local Government Pensioners prepares that of Pensioners, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs prepares that of traditional council members.

“All the data prepared by all these bodies are sent to the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, where they are reviewed, collated, and validated. These figures are referred to as First Line Charges. The figures are taken to the JAAC meeting, and once the allocation comes from Abuja, with respect to the JAAC, they disclose the amount at the meeting as money for Ogun State local government funding. They table all the distributions, which are the First Line Charges, and distribute on local government to local government basis.”

Giving out figures for more clarity,  Okubadejo said in 2020, N43.121 billion was budgeted for First Line Charges, while N34.750 billion was received from the federation account for the 20 local government areas, leaving a deficit of N6.619 billion.

According to him, in 2021, federal allocation was N38.723 billion, while payment for First Line Charges was N47.845 billion.

In 2022, N48.074 billion was the total allocation for the local governments from the federation account, while N54.182 billion was the actual amount needed to pay First Line Charges.

“As we were getting into 2023, just for this administration alone, we were coming with a deficit that the state government has paid for of almost N17.4 billion,” he added.

Speaking further, he noted that in January 2023, N7.6 billion was received as against the N7.221 billion total First Line Charges, leaving a little surplus.

In February, it went back to the normal trend, which was lower JAAC allocation and higher First Line Charges of N3.79 billion and N4.3 billion. The same thing in March and April.

In May, he said there was an increase of N6.348 billion to that of First Line Charges of N4.531 billion.

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