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Ex-Minister calls for abolition of state-local govt joint account

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By Bassey Anthony, Uyo

A former minister of lands and housing, Chief Nduese Essien has joined the call for the abolition of the State-Local government joint account saying the practice has impeded development at the grassroots.

He said those insisting on the joint account have ulterior motives which targets the withholding of local government funds, adding that the third tier of government has been stifled.

Essien, a two-term member of the House of Representatives, who spoke on Planet FM 101.1 radio programme in Uyo, insisted that federal allocations must be sent directly to the councils.

”I hereby call on members of the State Assemblies to enforce the payment of local government allocation directly to all local government areas as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

”Whoever is withholding the local government funds have ulterior motives chief among which is to stifle development at the local government level”, he said.

Essien said that it is only Akwa Ibom State that is yet to set up a special commission to manage the 13% oil derivation fund, and urged Governor Udom Emmanuel to urgently set up the commission.

He said the oil producing communities in the state are underdeveloped as a result of non-implementation of the 13% derivation law passed by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.

The former minister decried the lack of succession development plan in the state, noting that the act has led to abandonment of signature projects of previous administrations.

He said 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.

He berated Federal Government for excessive borrowing without repayment plans, as crude oil, the only export commodity has less value in the world market.

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