Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State says there is a need to review the Exclusive Legislative List to give states more control over critical areas.
“I think we need to look back into what we call Exclusive List. There is so much concentration on the centre and renders the states not being able to operate very well. I’m serious about this and if we can be sincere, and leave politics aside, there is so much we can allow states to do so that those who are willing can go ahead and do them,” Emmanuel said on Thursday.
The governor spoke in Uyo, the state capital, amid celebrations to mark the 35th anniversary of the creation of the state.
At the moment, the Federal Government has control over 68 items in the Exclusive List such as aviation, currency, security, and customs, amongst others, whilst the Concurrent Legislative List provides for items both the government at the centre and state governments share control over. They include allocation of revenue; a collection of taxes; industrial, commercial, or agricultural development; amongst others.
The governor said the constitution must be looked at for states to work, like other federating units overseas.
“I like reading about the economies of states and countries that are successful. During COVID, I was reading somewhere about New York and they were feeling so bad that the revenue they were getting during COVID dropped to over $16bn. I said my God, this is just a state. So, what makes them make that kind of revenue?
“I know we have a completely different economy but what principle gave rise to that (revenue)?” he asked.
“I still believe, in an economic eye, we need to look at certain things that are in our constitution which we can as well decentralise to make states work. I’ve talked about the Exclusive List.
“Something like this is a national issue and you don’t go to the minutest details because the understanding of everybody might not be the same. I try not to say all. A lot of these I keep promising Nigerians that PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) will look into it when we come in,” Emmanuel further stated.
“If we look at that, it will help states a whole lot to develop. Take, for example, power. Today, I cannot do anything on this shoreline, I must go back to NPA. There are no decisions I can take. For me to even bring a new aircraft, a whole lot of bottlenecks. I don’t even want to go into that. We are making it so difficult to do business. The Ease of Doing Business is not ‘easy’.
“In power, look at the number of regulatory agencies we have on power alone. Why do we need all that? We are the cause of our problem. We need electricity. The electricity is not even there. So, what are they regulating?” he asked.