CSOs Raise the Alarm over Non-implementation of Police Trust Fund

….Corporations kick against 0.005% contribution

Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) yesterday raised the alarm over the non-implementation of the Nigerian Police Trust Fund (NPTF) Act 2019 signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Fund is yet to act on the N1.8trillion needs assessment report presented to it by the Nigerian Police.

A roundtable meeting held in Abuja to review the implementation of the Police Trust Fund and organised by the Rule of Law and Advocacy Center (RULAAC), Open Society Initiative and the Rule of Law Empowerment Initiative also known as Partners West Africa Nigeria, also picked holes in the act which is stalling the implementation of the fund.

This comes as the companies operating in Nigeria expected to contribute 0.005per cent of their net profit as captured in the act kicked against the provision.

Rivers State government had also challenged the 0.005 per cent deduction from total revenue accruing to federation account as contained in the act.

Speaking at the event, the Executive Director, Rule of Law and Advocacy Center (RULAAC), Mr. Okechukwu Nwangwuma, said the roundtable was civil society’s intervention which sought to promote transparency and accountability through independent scrutiny and interrogation of the application of the resources of Police Trust Fund (PTF), a source of additional funding for the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).

“The Trust Fund is to operate for a period of six years from the commencement of the Act, after which it would cease to exist unless extended for any further period by an Act of the National Assembly.

“The delay in constituting the board – one year after it was signed into law ate up part of the expected lifespan of the board. This June, two years is already gone after the trust fund was signed into law and one year after the board was inaugurated.

“So, we have four more years left in the life span of the Act. How far has the trust fund achieved its mandate in the past two years? How much has the fund received and how much has it disbursed to the police? What has been the impact of the PTF on the performance and conduct of the police in these past two years?” he queried.

The meeting also raised the issue of the N1.8trillion needs assessment request by the police which it had not accessed from the fund.

The document which also had the input of the Ministry of Police Affairs covered funds for arms and ammunition, operational vehicles, police gears and Information Communication Technology (ICT) gadgets among others.

“A needs’ assessment committee set up by the former Inspector-General of Police collated the needs of the police and it amounted to N1.8trillion”, a member of the panel said.

The meeting also raised the issue of the opposition to the 0.005 per cent levy by companies doing business in Nigeria.

The Executive Director, Centre for Transparency and Advocacy, Ms. Faith Nwadishi, said corporations were unhappy with the taxation.

“Corporations are not happy with the taxes. They think it’s double taxation. They are not happy that 0.005 per cent will be deducted from their profit when they pay income tax and others”, she said.

Former Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund, Mr. Fola Arthur-Worrey, harped on the need to incorporate the private sector in the management of the fund, as part of amendment to the act and the need to change it to police management fund and not a trust.

“Trust fund is a fund set up for a beneficiary. It’s a fund set up for the police and not to be managed by the police”, he said.

In his remarks, the Legal Officer, Africa, Open Society Initiative, Mr. Stanley Ibe, lamented the absence of the Police Trust Fund at the event despite their invitation.

“We are in a crisis situation where nobody can doubt that the police needs more funding. We need to ask what manner of police do we want.

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