Chairman, Oshimili South local government area of the state, Barr. Chuks John Obusom, has advocated for the review of the revenues sharing formula currently being operated by the three tiers of governments in the country.
The council boss who equally reeled out some of his achievements when leaders and members of the Indigenous Correspondents’ Chapel (ICC), of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta State Council had a media parley with him in his office, faulted the revenues formula were the federal government takes the loin share at the expense of the grassroots.
Obussom further decried the over bloated work force in the 25 Local government areas in the state, noting that Oshimili South LGA has no fewer than 400 workers aside the primary school teachers.
This development, he opined has further worsen the challenges of the various Council Chairmen in the state, suggesting however, that a revenue arrangements, were the local government and state governments are allocated 30 percentage of the country revenues each while the federal government takes 40 percent be adopted.
He argued that the bulk of rebuilding the nation squarely lies on the shoulders of the local and state governments.
“Our problems are numerous. We have over bloated work force in the councils, their salary scale is equal to that of the state and the Federal civil servants. Because we have lots of money coming to the state as a result of the oil boom in the past, the salary structure that is equal to that of Federal was adopted in the state and local governments, and now the oil money is no longer as it used to be.” He explained.
Continuing; “the highest I have received as an allocation in the early months was N120million. Whereas, the primary school salary is N70milion, workers wage bill is N63million. How do I provide basic amenities to the people?”
The chairman who assumed office, October 2014 disclosed that, he was able to develop a reformed model for the identification of indigenes of the council which has been infiltrated by some persons from across the Niger.
“We have been able to establish a thorough and a reformed way of identifying Oshimili South indigenes. Before I assumed this office, so many people from across the Niger, you see them flouting identification letters. This has made us not only to loss crucial positions in terms of employment. Even outside here, in the military and other places, some people have gone there using Oshimili South slot”, he revealed.
He noted that several things actually went wrong in the identification process, “so we reformed that process. I personally signed identification letters and I will screen you, if I need to make calls, I do and of course before you have my identification, you must have established that you are from Oshimili South. I was able to write to the ministries doing the screening. If you don’t have anybody with my own signature don’t honour it”, noting that the move has yielded positive result.
The chairman pointed out that the step has taken care of non-indigenes who masqueraded as indigenes of the council area, “I think that is a reformatory step”.
Pastor Obusom also disclosed that the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the council which lacks organisation when he assumed office was properly harnessed, we did what is called enumeration, trying to identify our revenue sources and then we discovered also that there is need to have a revenue bye-law as there was no one that was effective then.
And after that we set up a system of revenue collection where revenue that are been generated is channeled to the banks, there is no cash collection, any cash collection is illegal, stressing that, we tried to dissuade self-help in revenue collection.
When they use taskforce to molest people here and there which to me as a lawyer is unacceptable and we have to make sure that people are tried through due process to ensure that they have been served and we will now use a judicial process to be able to get our revenue.”
Other successes Barr. Obusom reeled out includes: removal of revenue courts from rented apartments across the council which according to him led to the erection of a gigantic revenue court in the council premises, I have tried to check, I have never seen a local government council in the 774 LGAs in the country that built a revenue court,bought a 13KVA transformer to end about three years blackout in the secretariat, make the environment conducive for workers, started poultry farm with two per cent allocation which the law requested of the council to set aside for agriculture, “we have just finished disposing some of them and we want to start stocking for the Christmas period.