Delta State Governor, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori has urged Local Government Council Chairmen to check the activities of revenue collectors to reduce the burden of fuel subsidy removal on the people.
Oborevwori made the call when the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria ALGON, Delta State Chapter led by Hon. Victor Ebonka, paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Asaba on Wednesday.
He said that people were facing serious hardship following removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government and cautioned Council chairmen against multiple taxation and avoid taxing the people more at this critical time.
Oborevwori said; “funding remains a challenge in our local government councils. It is our hope that with the removal of the fuel subsidy, more monies will be accrued to the local governments and states.
“But until such happens, we urge you to be very prudent and creative in the management of your resources. Even though taxes are pertinent sources of council’s revenue, I want to assure you that the conflicting issues and laws will be handled.
“With the hardship we are facing now with this subsidy removal, I want to appeal to you to talk to your people, your agents and tax collectors not to impose unnecessary taxes on our people.
“There are a lot of expections from our people and at this time, we need to manage them, see how much we are buying fuel now. We are looking for how we can provide palliative for our people.”
He tasked the Councils to take seriously the issues of environmental sanitation and sustainability, adding that “operation keep Delta State clean is a collective responsibility of all.
“In the remaining months of your tenures, one issue I want you to treat with urgency, is sanitation. Last week, I went through the Warri/Effurun area, I called on the Chairmen of Warri and Uwvie Local Government Areas, and discussed with them.
“Every month you do your sanitation and there are provisions to do that; you must keep your environment clean. It is very important to educate our people on the benefits of keeping our environment clean,” he said.
He said local governments play important roles in the development of the grassroot and urged Council Chairmen to ensure proper management of their resources for the good of the people.
“As the third tier of government, the local government plays a very significant role in our democratic setting and political evolution; being the arm of government that is closest to the grassroot.
“I note with delight that the local government administration in the state has been characterised by peace and stability, in addition to strong synergy with the state government”.
The Governor further remarked that his administration would collaborate with local government councils to pay the backlog of pensions owed local government retirees and retired primary school teachers.
“Unlike some states, our local government councils have full control of their finances. In fact, the previous administration regularly assisted with grants, as a result of which we have continued to see steady progress in developing our rural areas.
“We may not have been where we want to be but I am proud of the progress we have made. This administration will sustain the precedent that has been laid by my predecessor.
“We shall not interfere with your finances and we will offer assistance where necessary. In this regard, we shall be collaborating with the Local Government Pension Bureau, to see how the lingering pension issues will be resolved.
“We met last week to discuss the issue but with a caveat that it is necessary to have an Auditor to audit the pension board and see how the process is carried out diligently so that we can know the actual persons who are due for such monies. We don’t want pension funds to be manipulated,” Oborevwori stated.
Earlier, Hon. Ebonka said they were at Government House to formally congratulate Governor Oborevwori on his emergence as Governor and to formally pledge their loyalty to his administration’s M.O.R.E Agenda.
He commended the Governor for his leadership style which brought peace and stability to the legislature, adding that throughout your tenure as Speaker, “no local government council chairman was summoned to the State Assembly rather you set up machinery in place to ensure prompt resolution of disputes.”
He appealed to the Governor to look into conflicting laws regarding building permits, sanitation and waste management even as he lauded the Governor for assisting them to work out modalities to defray pension liabilities owed local government pensioners and retired primary school teachers.
Delta Governor, Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori (3rdleft) in warm hand shake with the Chairman of Aniocha South Council, Mr. Jude Chukwunweike ( right) while the Chairman, Warri South-West, Mr. Duke Taiye( 2ndright) and their Warri-North counterpart, Hon. Smart Asekutu ( left) look on shortly after the visit of the twenty- five Local Government Council Chairmen to the Governor in Asaba on Wednesday. Pix: Enarusai Bripin