By Salisu Sani-Idris
The National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), on Sunday in Abuja called on the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to immediately restore tenement rate collection in the territory.
Mr Gomene Namene, the Director-General, Youth Campaign for Local Government Autonomy, under the aegis of the NYCN made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Namene said that the restoration of tenement rate collection would boost internally generated revenue of area councils and reduce their dependence on the FCTA.
He said that collection of tenement rate would enable area councils provide essential services to the people, adding that the suspension of tenement rate collection had undermined efforts of the councils to boost their revenue.
Namene said that the tenement rate was statutory revenue that was provided under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as part of the revenue collectable by the local government councils.
According to him, the forth schedule Section 7 of the Nigerian constitution provides that the local governments access, demand and collect tenement rates from owners of property that are existing in the area councils.
Namene added that collect tenement rates was not the Federal Government revenue, saying that it was area council revenue meant for the purpose of the development of the grassroots.
“ The Local Government Act, Laws of FCT, 2006 and the Taxes and Levies Act, 2004, as well as the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) Tenement Rate Collection Bye-law, 2012, laid credence to our stance.“
He assured that the NYCN would continue to support the area councils to ensure the attainment of their financial autonomy, stressing that without financial autonomy local government could not function effectively.
The D-G, however, commended the AMAC for its youth empowerment programmes, provisions of health facilities in satellite towns and market development.
FCTA in a circular signed on May 19, by FCT Permanent Secretary, Dr Babatope Ajakaiye, approved temporary suspension of tenement rates collection in FCT.
According to Ajakaiye, it is only the National Assembly that has the constitutional role to prescribe rates to be paid on tenements in the FCT and not the administration.
He said that the suspension became imperative against the backdrop of government’s plan to sanitise and streamline the tenement rates collection process to ensure compliance with relevant provisions of the constitution.
“This suspension is also in consonance with a resolution of the House of Representatives on the matter and decisions reached at a subsequent meeting with the leadership of the House Committee on FCT, held in Oct. 31, 2016.“