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Presidential Committee Meets to Implement Fiscal Autonomy for State Legislature and Judiciary

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The Presidential Implementation Committee on Autonomy of State Legislature and State Judiciary at a retreat in Abuja on Thursday 16th May and Friday 17th May adopted a communiqué on the modalities to implement the recently assented Constitution Alteration Act granting financial autonomy to State Legislatures and State Judiciary.

The Committee which comprises of members from the Legislature, Judiciary, Executive and civil society organisations, among others, was inaugurated by President Buhari on 22 March, 2019 to drive actualisation of the autonomy granted to the legislature and judiciary at State level in accordance with the newly amended section 121 (3) of the 1999 Constitution. Section 121(3) of the Constitution provides for the amount standing to the credit of the House of Assembly of a State in the Consolidated Revenue Fund to be paid directly to the State Legislature. However, in the case of the Judiciary such amounts are to be paid directly to the heads of the courts concerned.

The retreat, supported by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) and the British Department for International Development (DFID) culminated in the adoption of resolutions, which include:

– Adopting the budget model operating at the Federal level where the sum due to the judiciary and the legislature are captured as “First Line Charge” in the Budget laid before the Legislature.

– Calling for the release of the capital and recurrent sum approved in the Annual Budget of the State (on a pro-rata basis) by the Accountant General of the State directly to the Heads of the Legislature, the Judiciary, Heads of the Judicial Service Committee or Commission

-Abolishing the current practice in some States where appropriated recurrent expenditure due to the Judiciary and the Legislature in the budget are released to the Judiciary and the Legislature but the capital components are warehoused in the Executive.

The resolutions will form part of the final report that will be forwarded to President Buhari.