By Bassey Anthony, Uyo
A former Minister of Lands and Housing, Nduese Essien, has called for the abolition of state/local government joint account. He said the practice has impeded development at the grassroots.
According to him, those insisting on the joint account have ulterior motives which target the withholding of local government funds. He added that the third tier of government has been stifled.
Essien spoke on a Planet FM 101.1 radio programme in Uyo. He insisted that federal allocations must be sent directly to the councils.
He said: “I call on the House of Assembly to enforce the payment of local government allocation directly to them as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari. Whoever is withholding the local government funds has ulterior motives, chief among which is to stifle development at the local level.”
Essien noted that Akwa Ibom State is yet to set up a special commission to manage the 13 per cent oil derivation fund, and urged Governor Udom Emmanuel to do so.
According to him, the oil producing communities in the state are underdeveloped because of non-implementation of the 13 per cent derivation law passed by the House of Assembly.
The former minister decried the lack of succession development plans, noting that the act has led to abandonment of signature projects of previous administrations.
According to him, the unwholesome practice is responsible for the abandonment of key signature projects such as the Tropicana in Uyo, Sheraton hotel in Ikot Ekpene, outright sale of Qua River Hotel in Eket and many other projects in the state.