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States To Begin Financial Autonomy for Legislature, Judiciary This Week –FG

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Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Chris Ngige

The implementation of financial autonomy for the state legislature and judiciary would commence this week, the federal government has confirmed.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Chris Ngige, said the 36 state governors, after studying the document, agreed to implement the long-awaited policy from Monday, May 24, 2021.

This would be done as they get the allocation for May 2021 from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) from tomorrow.

At a reconciliation meeting with the striking members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), it was agreed that “the governments of the respective states shall credit the accounts of each state House of Assembly and each state judiciary with the pro-rata amount due each of the two arms of government under the 2021 Appropriation for each state in accordance with” an agreement signed on last Thursday.

It was further agreed that as soon as this is done, the striking legislative and judiciary workers will call off their prolonged strike.

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According to a statement signed by the Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations at the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr Charles Akpan, it was agreed that “whenever there is a revenue shortfall, lower than the budgeted fund, the monthly allocations to each arm of government shall reflect a percentage of the appropriated sum or an irreducible minimum amount to be allocated every month for the purpose of meeting its costs whichever is higher. This percentage will reflect as 100 per cent in personnel cost. The running cost and capital cost will be pro-rata of revenue performance as per the state appropriation law.”

Under the new deal, “annually, upon the determination of budget ceilings or envelopes from the budget committee of the state, anchored by the budget office of the state headed by the Commissioner in-charge, each arm of government – executive, judiciary, legislature, acting through its own budget and/or funds management committee, shall prepare its budget estimates/details and submit same to the state house of assembly.”

It was also said that, “There shall also be established in each state a State Account Allocation Committee (SAAC) to be given legislative backing in the various fund management laws and charged with the responsibility to oversee the distribution of available resources to each arm of government, with membership to reflect the template of the FAAC.”

“Every state Commissioner of Finance and State Accountant General shall on a monthly basis furnish the committee with the revenue performance of the state within a stipulated timeline not exceeding seven days after each FAAC meeting.

“Based on the revenue receipt, evaluations and the needs of each arm, the committee shall work out an appropriate budget release based on the appropriation for each arm of government for that year,” it was also agreed.

In his remarks, the Minister described the signing of the document by all parties as historic and a fundamental kick-starting of restructuring being clamoured for by some Nigerians, acclaiming President Muhammadu Buhari for the unmatched political will.

“Perhaps, it will be pertinent to point out to those clamouring for restructuring that this is a fundamental restructuring of the Nigerian federation. This is a restructuring that has granted autonomy to the state judiciary and legislature.

“I am happy that we are part of this history-making and that we made this history in the life of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari,” Mr Ngige said.

He praised the President for achieving this feat through the instrumentality of the fourth alteration that gave birth to Section 121 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the Presidential Executive Order 10 and the establishment of the implementation committee.

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