Saturday, 15 July 2017

Ambode calls for closure of Federal land registry in Lagos

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode yesterday revealed his thoughts on how some of the structural defects in the  1999 constitution  could be addressed.

He said there was  no reason for the  continuous operation of the Federal Land Registry in Lagos,describing the current situation as an aberration.

The governor therefore wanted the ‘aberration’ addressed  in line with the principle of fiscal federalism.

He spoke at a joint working retreat of the Senate and House Representatives Committees on the Review of 1999 Constitution in Lagos.

He said the land registry  ought to have been closed and all title therein moved to the Lagos State Land Registry.

He also called for the restriction of the Land Use Act only to the Federal Capital Territory on the basis of the fact that land has always been, and should remain, a residual matter for the State Houses of Assembly to legislate upon, hence the need for the Act to become Land Use Law of the States.

Besides,the governor asked  the National Assembly to jettison the proposed Stamp duties Bill currently before it.

He said the bill,if passed, is capable of crippling the internally generated revenue drive of the states.

He said the bill “is a grave threat to the principles of fiscal federalism and as representatives of the true beneficiaries of the Act as it presently stands, there is need to put an urgent and immediate end to its further coordination by the National Assembly which also has the noble tradition that once a matter is before the Court, all activities on the matter would be suspended.”

He said the call became imperative in view of a case currently pending before the Supreme Court between Lagos State Government Attorney General and Attorney General of the Federation.

Governor Ambode also reinstated his call for special status to be granted to Lagos in the proposed Constitutional amendment being the former federal capital territory of Nigeria, the economic and commercial nerve centre of the nation, and taking into cognizance the high population density and continuous influx of people into the State.

While highlighting some of the unhelpful provisions in the Constitution, Governor Ambode attributed the imbalance in the financial resources of States and Local Governments to the current unhealthy revenue sharing formula which is heavily tilted in favour of the Federal Government, calling for an urgent review to enable other tiers of government realize their potentials and accelerate growth and development.

He said: “The current revenue allocation formula by which the Federal Government takes as much as 52.68% of centrally-collected revenues in the Federation Account, leaving the States and Local Governments with 26.72% and 20.60% respectively has created a glaring and unacceptable imbalance in the financial resources of the three tiers of government.

“The sharing formula should be limited to Federal and State governments. Since Local Governments are to come under the purview of the States, allocations to them should be shared to States as they can have as many Local Governments as they wish.
The formular 774 is inequitable.’’

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