IT IS A CIVIL duty of all state governments to allocate 10 percent of their internally generated revenues to local governments, rather than making regular and illegal deductions of their statutory allocations from the federation account. Such additional sources of funds for local government councils, apart from boosting their revenue base, can help them in planning and setting development targets to enhance grassroots welfare. Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the Edo Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate in the September 2016 governorship election stated this while answering questions at the weekend from the panel for the interactive session for governorship candidates organised by the Benson Idahosa University, Ugbor, near Benin City. He said the massive illegal deductions by state governments accounted for the inability of most, if not all, the18 local governments in Edo to pay workers’ salaries as at when due, a development he sai led to workers strike a few weeks ago. If elected governor, he said, his first priority was to observe the autonomy of local governments and authorise the payment of the 10 percent of the state’s internally generated revenue to all the local governments in the state. “The constitution empowers the state government to supervise local government councils. The truth is that in Edo State, local governments are practically dead. They owe arrears of salaries and they cannot do anything and the reason is simple-the state/ local government joint account has been thoroughly abused by the state government.” He said, “We intend to give local government councils in the state their full autonomy and we will also give to them the ten percent of the state’s internally generated revenue. In addition we will set targets for them in terms of schools, agriculture and markets development.” On the question of primary healthcare from the panel, the PDP candidate said that it was regrettable that the system in the state had been left to decay by the present state government, promising to reverse the trend if elected. “I do not know whether many of you are aware but in 2014 the Federal Ministry of Health did an evaluation of PHC across the country and Edo scored the poorest at six percent in terms of evaluation,” he said. Earlier, Ize-Iyamu appreciated the university’s initiative in hosting the first election debate under the present dispensation for the 2016 polls, and that the idea was brilliant, even as he praised other candidates who turned up in person. “I would like to appreciate my fellow candidates. It is my prayer that this election will be as peaceful as possible…I sincerely think that Edo can be better than it is right now,” he said.

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