Subsidy Removal Backlash: Don’t Burden Deltans with Multiple, High Taxes, Oborevwori Cautions LG Chairmen

Delta State Governor, Sheriff Oborevwor
Delta State Governor, Sheriff Oborevwor

Against the backdrop of hard times being experienced by Nigerians as a result of fuel subsidy removal, Delta State Governor, Sheriff Oborevwori, has admonished local government council chairmen to check the activities of revenue collectors in their localities so as to reduce the burden of fuel subsidy removal on the people. Oborevwori, who made the call when the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria ALGON, Delta State Chapter, led by Victor Ebonka, paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Asaba on Wednesday, promised that his administration would collaborate with local government councils to pay the backlog of pensions owed local government retirees and retired primary school teachers.
He expressed grave concern that people were facing serious hardship following the removal of fuel subsidy by the federal government and cautioned council chairmen against multiple taxations, as well as 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 accrue 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 councils’ 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 expectations 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 palliatives for our people.”
Tasking the councils to take seriously the issues of environmental sanitation and sustainability, the governor reminded them that the 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.
While noting that local governments play important roles in the development of the grassroots, he urged council chairmen to ensure proper management of their resources for the good of the people.
Governor Oborevwori said “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 grassroots. 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”.
According to him, “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 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”.
Earlier, 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, he said, has brought peace and stability to the Legislature.
Ebonka noted that throughout his 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.

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