Abuja’s richest council beset with bad roads, dirt

Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) got over N13 billion from the Federal Allocation Account Committee (FAAC) and generated over N6bn from internal sources between 2016 and 2019 but couldn’t meet the expectations of tax payers.

Documents reviewed by Daily Trust showed that AMAC raked in N13, 713,410,665.15 from FAAC, and N6,316,601 from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), including tenement payments within the period under review.

Tax payers and locals spoken to said authorities in the council did not do much in terms of providing infrastructure to justify the revenue accruing to the area council.

According to them, AMAC led by the chairman, Abdullahi Adamu Candido, has not provided basic infrastructure in densely populated areas like Nyanya and Kabusa among others, where roads are in deplorable condition.

In the course of this investigation, there were also concerns that the council had failed to provide public conveniences and rid the municipality of garbage.

AMAC Chairman Abdullahi Adamu Candido

These, according to those interviewed, “are constitutional responsibilities which fall under the purview of local councils according the laws establishing the third tier of government.”

According to data obtained from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, monies that accrued to AMAC from FAAC between January and July 2019 amounted to N4,191,717,366.

In 2018, AMAC was allocated a total of N6,822,946,881.15 from FAAC, and got N2,698,746,418 from the same source in 2017 for the months of April, May, June, October, November and December.

The allocation is double the N2,081,667,773 which Nasarawa Local Government Area in Kano State got during the same period. Nasarawa has almost the same socio-economic demography with AMAC.

It is only Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State which got N4, 781,440,017 that could be placed ahead of AMAC within the period under review.


Why AMAC gets more money

Experts say in terms of IGR, what AMAC gets could be compared with what low revenue generating states get. They cited Yobe which generated N4.48 billion in 2018, N3.59 billion in 2017 and as low as N2.25 billion in 2015 from internal sources.

According to them, Kebbi which generated N4.39 billion in 2017 is another state with low revenue generation capacity that could struggle to compete with AMAC.

Findings reveal that AMAC also generates more money than its contemporaries because it is at the centre of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Besides AMAC, there are five other area councils in the FCT – Abaji, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kwali and Kuje.


The ‘common pool’ in FCT

Findings showed that though AMAC receives “good money” from FAAC, such allocations first get to the FCT Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) under the supervision of the office of the FCT Minister of State or the permanent secretary.

From the FAAC allocation to all the six area councils, 15 per cent of what is received is deducted for payment of salaries of primary school teachers and 10 per cent for onward remittance to the pension funds.

The remaining is then shared among the six area councils.

In March 2019, AMAC was allocated N615,426,214.86 from FAAC but got only N221 million from FCT JAAC.

Also in April 2017, it got N169 million from the FCT JAAC despite being allocated N427,926,212.78 from FAAC.


Internal sources for AMAC

But what is clear, according to Daily Trust findings, is that AMAC gets a lot of money from IGR.

Like in other states, the third tier of government under which AMAC falls is mandated by the Taxes and Levies Act 2004 to collect tenement rate, shops and kiosks rates and on and off liquor license fees.

Other revenues available to the area councils include slaughter slab fees, marriage, birth and death registration fees, naming of streets excluding those in the state or federal capital city and right of occupancy fees in rural areas.

In addition, the local governments have been mandated to collect market taxes, motor park levies, domestic animal license fees, bicycle, canoe, truck, and wheelbarrow and cart fees other than mechanically propelled trucks.

The councils also collect radio and television license fees, vehicle radio license fees, sewage and refuse disposal fees in satellite towns, fees for the registration of pest control and fumigation organisations, charges for the issuance of fumigation certificates as well as signboard and advertisement permit fees.

Daily Trust learnt that tenement rate is the most viable for AMAC because it generates a lot of money from the source.

Adamu Kasimu, an estate surveyor and valuer, said the rate is based on the gross annual value of a property in which four per cent or four kobo to the naira of the assessed value is charged as tenement rate.

AMAC, in a document obtained by Daily Trust, and signed by the council’s head of administration, Yahaya Ahmed Khana, in 2016 generated N1,052,767,000 between May 20 and October 21 as tenement rate.

The document indicated that AMAC generates an average of N175,461,166 as monthly income from tenements. This means that it generates an average of N2,105,533,992 annually.

Efforts to get the complete revenue profile of the council proved abortive because there was no response to the request sent to the chairman of the council, Candido, requesting for details of their internally generated revenue and expenditure in line with the Freedom of Information Act.

However, the chairman had while celebrating 100-days in office during his first tenure acknowledged that markets were also a lucrative source of revenue generation for the council.

One of the shop owners at Utako Ultramodern market, who gave his name as Henry, said he pays N20,000 annually as ground rent to AMAC.

He said owners of warehouses paid N30,000 annually, adding that there are over 500 shops at the Utako market.

Should 500 shop owners pay N20,000 as ground rent, the council would generate about N10,000,000 annually.

Until now that the market is being reconstructed, car owners were issued a ticket of N100 to get access to the market.

Meanwhile, the toll is higher at Kabusa market where motorists say they pay N200 for each car while traders and hawkers also pay certain amount to be allowed to sell their wares.

Other markets managed by AMAC include Karmo and Nyanya.

Also, taxis conveying passengers within AMAC pay N200 daily, with analysts saying if 500 taxi drivers purchase the ticket daily for 30 days, the council would be generating at least N21,000,000 monthly from that source.

Also, the Environmental Services Department generates revenue through the regulation of pest control companies.

Each company is mandated to register with N100,000 annually. Findings show that there are over 500 certified pest control service providers and operators in  AMAC.


Infrastructure suffers

The road to Kabusa market despite the revenue it generates for AMAC is an eyesore. Some traders said they often suffer losses while transporting their goods to the market.

“Every market day you will see bags of guinea corn and maize falling from Okada while being conveyed to the market,” said Iya Kemi, a vegetable seller at the market.

Though AMAC had reportedly engaged a developer to construct the market, our reporter who visited the market saw traders in makeshift shops.

“From the expressway to Kabusa the road is terrible. If you are coming from PENGASSAN Estate or Sunny Vale, you cannot escape the terrible roads that make motorists regular customers of mechanics,” a resident of Kabusa, said.

In Nyanya, roads are in deplorable state with residents lamenting poor response by AMAC authorities.

Mr. Charles Ateke said the roads in Areas A, B, C and D of the satellite town were in a terrible state and motorists always have a tough time plying them to and from their places of work.

“The roads are very bad…There is nowhere in Nyanya that the road is good. So one wonders what AMAC authorities are doing with the money they collect from numerous taxes and sources,” he said.

Residents of AMAC are also concerned that refuse evacuation and provision of public conveniences are not given attention by the authorities despite taxes collected for the purposes.

Mrs. Gloria Dashe, who lives on Mambolo Street, Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, said she was not satisfied with waste evacuation in her area.

“They are not consistent in evacuating the garbage on the streets. Sometimes they come every day but there are times they do not come for days.

“I have heard that in other areas like Garki, residents complain that refuse is left on the streets for weeks,” she said.


No public conveniences

Daily Trust found that nowhere in the city has AMAC provided public conveniences though the authorities claim that they have built public toilets in some satellite towns and urban slums.

The Karu slaughterhouse, which is one of the biggest in the council, was in squalid condition, when our reporter visited.

But AMAC officials spoken to said the slaughter house was under the control of the FCT Agricultural and Rural Development Secretariat.


‘Executed’ projects

Though AMAC chairman Candido has declined several attempts to get his comment, our reporters have seen a document containing some of the projects executed by the council from 2016. They included the provision of an 800 KVA generator to the Area 1 shopping centre which findings show costs about N43,000,000.

The document also indicated that rural electrification project was being carried out in Toge, Yimitu, Gyipa and seven other communities at an undisclosed budget.

In the education sector, the document indicated that AMAC, under Candido, had built three classrooms each in seven communities, established and fenced a primary school in Gidan Hakimi and fenced the school in Dabo.

The chairman of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Jonathan Moses, said AMAC had 1,600 staff in its payroll but added that some people have been recruited recently.

The document said the Candido administration had constructed roads in over 17 communities while primary healthcare centres and public conveniences were either constructed or renovated in over 16 communities including Kpaduma, Galadimawa and Durumi II. Also, boreholes were provided in 18 communities amongst several other empowerment projects.

A visit to Mabushi Primary Heath Centre showed that the facility has personnel and drugs to carter for patients.

Also, the council disbursed N21,320,000 as scholarship to FCT natives and other residents studying in various tertiary institutions.

The post Abuja’s richest council beset with bad roads, dirt appeared first on Daily Trust.

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