From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government has said a new revenue allocation formula for the country is long overdue but reiterated that it must be based on the constitutionally allocated functions.
This is even as it has applauded the nationwide consultation that has been going towards getting the view of as many Nigerians, committees and stakeholders as possible in ensuring that the exercise has a very responsive outcome for Nigerians.
This is coming at a time where the Niger Delta region is kicking against alleged plot by some federal legislators to remove the 13 percent oil derivation, describing it as an invitation to anarchy.
Recall no fewer than 59 members of the House of Representatives from the north, were reported to be sponsoring a bill with intent to delete Section 162, sub-section 2 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
The section under reference has to do with the management of ‘the Federation Account’, particularly subsection 2 states inter alia:
“The President upon the receipt of advice from the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, shall table before the National Assembly proposals for revenue allocation from the Federation Account, and in determining the formula, the National Assembly shall take into account, the allocation principles, especially those of population, equality of states, internal revenue generation, land mass, terrain as well as population density;
“Provided that the principle of derivation shall be constantly reflected in any approved formula as being not less than thirteen per cent of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account from any natural resources.”
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, stated that the review was overdue on Friday when the chairman of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC), Elias Mbam led a delegation to his office in Abuja.
Mustapha, who was represented by the permanent secretary, Ecological Project, Office of the SGF, Habiba Lawal expressed the hope that the revenue allocation review exercise will be concluded successfully.
Mustapha told the RMFAC delegation that, “first and foremost, I want to join you to appreciate the fact that a new revenue allocation formula has long been overdue. I think it’s something that we also agree with you, but it’s been a long time.
“And it’s good that we’re having this exercise now. And we hope that this exercise will go to a full conclusion so that we’ll have a full one.
“In the same vein, I also have observed the activity and the consultation that has been going about in all over the states of the Federation, towards getting the view of as many Nigerians, committees and stakeholders as possible in ensuring that this exercise has a very responsive outcome for many of us Nigerians.”
The SGF also stressed the importance that any revenue allocation formula should be based on the constitutionally allocated functions.
According to him, the funds should be put where the responsibilities are saying “and I think you’ve also observed that or committed to that in your statement. So we are looking forward to that happening as part of the key component of the new exercise.”
Mustapha, however, said to have a comprehensive or justified one a constitutional reform is fundamental, because it’s within the constitutional reform, that the functions of the different types of government can be clearly stated.
He stated “and then the responsibility for where the funds should go, will then be able to tie both at the sub-national levels.
“However, it is agreed that we’re due for that. And the Office of the Secretary of the Government of the Federation assures you of its support and commitment, as you go through the entire exercise of the new revenue allocation formula.
He also affirmed the commitment that the view of the federal government will be shared.
“So the Office of the Secretary of the Government of the Federation will be fully represented and will be able to share what the federal government feels can be adopted for now.
“But we believe a full and comprehensive one should come through an appropriate and a full-blown constitutional reform that allocate responsibilities.
“So fundings should build on responsibilities, and that way we think it will be more appropriate and a fairly more justified revenue allocation formula, where the responsibilities are followed with funding, for us to be able to discharge them,” he added.
On his part, the chairman of the commission said it is still expecting the inputs of the Federal Government concerning the review of the revenue allocation formula.
He said the Commission has obtained relevant data from relevant Agencies for use in the review process.
According to him, studies on fiscal matters relating to the allocation of federation revenue are being carried out by the commission saying all these are aimed at ensuring that the new revenue formula shall be fair, just, and equitable.
“We are still expecting the inputs of the Federal Government with respect to the review. The Federal Government is a critical Stakeholder and its views and opinion are indispensable in the review exercise,” he added.