The Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has asked Nigerians to begin to hold their respective state governors and local government chairmen accountable for allocations accruing to states and councils.
By doing this, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala argues that it would accelerate national transformation, adding that the revenue allocations of some states supersedes the annual budgets of some neighbouring countries.
Delivering a lecture titled: “Transforming Nigeria’s economy: Opportunities and Challenges”, at the 12th Convocation of Babcock University at the weekend, the minister, who was conferred with the honorary title of Doctor of Human Letter, noted that Nigerians often vent their anger on the Federal Government, instead of asking what their states and local governments have done with their allocations.
The minister said: “In those days, states said they were not getting their money. That is no longer the case. States are now getting the money that is available as it is shared each month. We publish it in the national dailies every month so that people can know what their state, local government and the Federal Government receive in terms of allocation”.
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala urged Nigerians to seek answers from their governors, adding that poverty eradication and infrastructural development should not be left to the Federal Government alone.
Listing the top 10 states in revenue allocation, the finance minister said: “In 2013, the top 10 allocations went to Akwa Ibom, N260 billion; Rivers, N230 billion; Delta, N209 billion; Bayelsa, N173 billion; Lagos, N168 billion; Kano, N140 billion; Katsina, N103 billion; Oyo, N100 billion; Kaduna, N97 billion; and Borno, N94 billion.
“These were the allocations that all these states got last year, so the question is what did they do with it? Analysis shows that many states receive revenue allocation that are larger than the budgetary allocation of neighbouring countries, such as Liberia, whose budget is $433 million and Gambia, $210 million.
“You can see that our top 10 states receive more money than these countries and you should be asking what this money is being used for? We should ask ourselves what is the role of states and local governments in supporting our transformation? We know from the constitution that the provision of public services, such as health, education, agricultural services and so on, are on a concurrent list and, therefore, are joint responsibilities of the federal, state and local governments.
“However, it is not often that you hear people asking what a state has done? Most of the attention is on the Federal Government. We need to ask what our states and local governments do with the resources they get?” Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala stressed.
She challenged graduating students of the faith-based institution to be job creators and not job seekers.