By Norbert Agwazim (Abuja) and Iteveh Ekpokpobe (Asaba)
Despite raking in over N30 billion through internally generated revenue (IGR) in six months (January to June, 2020), aside the huge allocations from the federal government, Delta State has continued to trail other states in developmental strides.
Checks by revealed that from 2016 till date, the Delta state government has received a little over N755 billion from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).
In 2018, 2019 and in the first quarter of the year 2020, Delta State emerged the biggest recipient of federal allocation with a total sum of N480.03 billion.
A breakdown of the allocation from 2016 till date is as follows: 2016 – N142.28 billion; 2017 – N111.2 billion; 2018 – N213.6 billion; 2019 – N214.4 billion and in the first quarter of the year 2020 (January to March), the state received the highest FAAC disbursement of N52.03 billion, a figure which places Delta State higher than the combined total net disbursements of N50.67 billion of the six lowest receiving states, comprising Osun, Cross River, Plateau, Ogun, Ekiti and Gombe.
Also, in April 2020, Delta State also scooped the highest share of the total states’ allocation from the FAAC, receiving a sum of N21.53 billion, accounting for 9.13% of states total gross allocation.
A breakdown of the state IGR of the first quarter of the year 2020 shows that the state government generated N7.8 billion in January, N5.3 billion in February, N6.04 billion in March, N3.9 billion in April, N3.5 billion in May and N4 billion in June 2020.
What is however shocking is that in terms of development, Delta State is far behind other states like Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Bayelsa which queue behind it in the disbursement of FAAC allocation in the last two years.
More saddening is that states like Osun, Cross River, Plateau, Ogun, Ekiti and Gombe receiving lowest FAAC disbursements seem to be doing better in providing dividends of democracy to their people.
Aside from Asaba, the state capital, nothing meaningful could be seen in other parts of the state except for roads which most Deltans have noticed, were constructed in a shabby and with low quality materials as they give way after three months.
For instance, a visit to the Asaba/Ozoro Road, and Ozoro/Oleh/Owhe roundabout/Ughelli Road, Effurun/Eku Road amongst others, shows that these places are death traps, full of potholes, resulting from badly jobs done by the contractors. Some of these roads which are falling apart were constructed very recently, and some sections are still under construction, meanwhile they are falling already.
A visit to most streets in Warri, Ughelli, Asaba, Kwale and other places shows the troubles Deltans pass through in accessing their homes because of flood, bad roads and poor sanitation with refuse taking over the state. Most streets in these places mentioned are not motorable. The roads are extremely bad.
The state’s infrastructures have continued to decay even as unemployment, crime and poverty rates continue to rise.
No successful housing scheme in 15 years, yet Delta govt activates property tax – CSO
Meanwhile, a Civil Society Organisation has described the Property Tax motion of the government as draconian and inhumane, considering that the state could not execute a successful housing scheme in 15 years.
Comrade Victor Ojei, Director General, Young Nigerian Rights Organisation, while reacting to the development said the state government under Senator Ifeanyi Okowa was operating without a human face.
According to him, “Where is the human face of Delta State Government in respect to property tax activation? There is a pandemic in the world and governments all over the world are creating structures on ground to support citizens.
“Do you know Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River state exempted ‘The Poor’ from paying taxes? Do you know that due to COVID-19 pandemic in the world, Jigawa State government offered tax holiday to SMEs but Delta State chose to rather cause more pains to her citizens.
“Do you know that in year 2000, it took Bauchi State two years to complete 1000 buildings for her citizens, even Lagos State and Cross River State are doing well in the support of her citizens in housing scheme whereas since the past four years, Delta State Ministry of Housing has been struggling to construct 150 houses?”
“Do you know that Delta State residents work so hard in Delta State to build their personal houses but lack access roads to these buildings? Flood Control in the capital is yet to be seen as a success cause the government are yet to dredge where the flood water from all channels empty into River Niger.
“There is no successful housing scheme in Delta State since the past 15 years or more and even the project at Ibusa Road by the Immigration office is yet to be completed?”
“Do you know that Delta State Government has failed in the provision of Housing Scheme for the average Deltan?
Do you know that there is multiple tax collection by Government Agencies and Departments in Delta State at the expense of the average citizens?” He quizzed.
But in his reaction, the state commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, explained that the tax was not a new policy, but that the state government was only strengthening it with a plan to embark on enumeration in urban areas of the state with a view to bringing more property into the tax net.