State governments have disclosed that money meant to build roads, schools, hospitals are now being diverted to fund and support federal government institutions especially security agencies domiciled in their states.
They wonder how the federal governmentwith a bigger budget expects them to fund all the agencies domiciled in their states, hence they have called on the government at the center toaddress the problem of funding or stipulates the role of the state governments in the various programmes.
The Secretary to the State Government of Kaduna, Balarabe Abbas Lawal, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues from other zones said this at the inauguration of Permanent StandingCommittee on Inter-Governmental Affairs by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha on Monday.
Mustapha said at the inauguration of the 25-man Inter-Governmental Affairs Committee that it was part of efforts to create coordination and synergy between the three tiers of government.
Lawal, who welcomed the committee, prayed that it will not go the way of other committees that never produced any result or died after just one sitting.
The Kaduna SSG said: “At the state level we have been complaining that the the federal government is quite remote to us. The meetings we normally have with SGF doesn’t give us enough opportunity to get across to the ministries like we do now.
“I think we can now interact with them and raise some issues we think can be taken care of.
“For example, I’m sure most of my colleagues will agree with me on this, when you go back to states, we shoulder a lot of federal government programmes, in the area of security and other services, you find that the funding from federal government is usually very low.
“So we have tried to find out what is happening. They have a bigger budget but you find that all the agencies of federal government normally come to the states asking for one thing or the other.
“I have been raising it with the SGF that we have to sit down and find out what is happening. Are the agencies not being funded or they expect the state government for fund them?
“Particularly in the area of security which I feel very strongly, this committee should include representatives of the security agencies.
“This committee, I strongly believe can serve a very important purpose from what we call cross cutting relationship between the federal government, states and local government.
“I’m happy this committee is taking off because I thought that there was nothing like this before now that we can come here and voice our own complains.
“We have to sit and find out how federal agencies in the states are being funded or are they not being funded? They are always coming to us to say we should do this or that for them. Particularly in the area of security we are spending a lot – police, army, Nagy, civil Defence, all of them.
“They will tell us that their overhead is N60,000 a month which we think is impossible to carry them along. The police apart from the salaries come to us for almost everything they need.
“This committee is important. I think you need to listen to us because we are carrying the burden of the federal government and it is now telling on our infrastructure development. The money meant to build roads, schools, hospitals is now being diverted to fund and support federal government institutions. I think it is important for us to sit down and look at these issues.
“We hope the committee will be sustained because previous ones after the first meeting die naturally.”
Meanwhile the SGF, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ecological Funds Office, Mrs. Habiba Lawal, noted that the committee was reconstituted after it had become dormant under the defunct Federal Ministry of Special duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs.
The SGF who chairs the committee,added that in reconstituting the committee, the scope of membership was expanded by bringing in members from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Secretaries to State Governments (SSGs), Director-General of Governors Forum (DGGF), and the Secretary-General of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON).
“The Committee has the following Terms of Reference: To serve as the coordinating link in the activities of the 3-tiers of Government in the fulfillment of their statutory obligations; To remove all areas of frictions in the operation of the 3-tiers of Government; To make appropriate policy inputs and recommendations on cross cutting activities of the 3-tiers of Government; To examine and take appropriate actions on petitions and complaints brought before it by the 3-tiers of Government; To promote a harmonious fiscal federalism between the 3-tiers of Government; and To handle issues as may arise or referred to it from time to time, he said.
The SGF while congratulating members of the committee urged them to be patriotic and put in their best performance.