Statement by Olawale Fapohunda, Honourable Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Ekiti State
Presentation of the Review of the South West Development Commission Bill, 2019 to the Committee on Justice, House of Representatives
1. Mr Chairman, I have been instructed by the Governor, Ondo State and Chairperson, South West Governors Forum, His Excellency, Arakurin Rotimi Akeredolu SAN to present this Memorandum on the Review of the South West Development Commission Bill 2019 to your Committee for consideration of the House of Representatives.
2. This Memorandum is the outcome of a detailed review by the South West Governors of the Bill. The South West Governors deliberately adopted a consultative, inclusive and consensus-building approach in the review of the Bill. Member states were allowed to present their individual state’s position after which recommendations were based on consensus. I should also add that the South West Speakers Forum also participated in the consultative review process.
3. Mr Chairman, the South West Governors are aware of the legal framework and indeed the workings of the Niger- Delta Development Commission as well as the North-East Development Commission. We have tried as much as possible to reflect some of the common provisions in both Acts in our memorandum to the extent that they reflect the aspirations of the Six South-West States.
4. The South West Governors convey their appreciation to the Honourable Speaker of the House and all the Honourable Members who sponsored the Bill. The Bill was well-drafted and broadly meets the socio-economic needs of the people of the South-West States. In considering this Bill the South West Sates held several discussions on the economic situation of the region. The desire for constructive regional economic integration, recognizing the comparative advantage of individual states was at the heart of these discussions.
*5. The South West Governors have made several proposals for the consideration of this Committee. They have tried to respond to issues that arose since the Bill was proposed. The need to respond to infrastructure gaps across the South West States is a priority. They have respectfully suggested that the administrative structure of the proposed commission be streamlined to enhance efficiency and to ensure that the limited funds available are used for concrete projects that will enhance the wellbeing of our people. Most importantly they have expressed the need for clarity on the funding of the Commission, in particular, it is their considered view that there should be a clear and unambiguous understanding that all the contributions of the Federal Government to the Commission shall be from funds due to the States from the Federation Account and the Ecological fund and shall not be deducted from the statutory allocation or ecological fund due to the South-West States.
6. The Chairman, South West Governors Forum also directed that I inform the Committee of the willingness of the South West Governors Forum to provide further support including technical assistance to the Committee in support of the consideration of the Bill.
May I now on behalf of the Chairman South West Governors Forum, present this memorandum to the Committee in the hope that you will find our review relevant, important and necessary for the consideration of the Bill.
I thank you for listening
Honourable Attorney- General & Commissioner for Justice