From Oluseyi Dasilva Ilorin
The Kwara State Government has denied allegations that it diverts local government funds through the Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) without the consent of the local government administration.
This denial came in a statement issued in response to claims by the factional governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazak that the state government diverts local government funds, the state government described the claim as uninformed and false as it neither diverts nor otherwise interferes with the local government finances.
The government also rejected the claim by candidates that the joint project account was responsible for the low level of development and poverty at the local government level. On the contrary, it said, the drop in federal allocation to local government councils caused salary arrears and the unfortunate hardship being experienced by local government workers and pensioners.
Additionally, the government attributed the relative lack of development at the local government level to the same drop in allocation to councils as current inflows barely cover basic obligations, leaving no room development projects.
The statement, signed by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communication to the state government, Dr. Muyideen Akorede, also clarified that the while the state-local government joint projects account accelerated infrastructure development at local levels, the scheme was stopped years ago following the sustained reductions in federal allocation on account of drop in global oil prices. The scheme, it said, could therefore not be responsible for the current challenges referred to by the candidate.
While urging the candidate to refrain from misleading pronouncements about governance in the state, the state government emphasized that it has always supported local governments to meet their obligations including augmenting shortfalls in their allocation. These interventions, it said, include loans, releasing a significant proportion of revenue inflows such as the Paris Club refunds and the monthly disbursement of ten per cent of state government’s internal revenue to the local government councils.