State governments say money meant to build roads, schools and hospitals are now being used to fund and support federal government institutions, especially security agencies.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues at the inauguration of permanent standing committee on inter-governmental affairs by Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation, Balarabe Lawal, secretary to the state government of Kaduna, wondered how the federal government with a bigger budget expects states to fund all the agencies domiciled in their states.
He called on the government at the center to address the problem of funding or stipulate the role of state governments in the various programmes.
“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,” he said.
“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, navy, 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.”