By Davies Iheamnachor – Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has called on the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, to reduce revenue accruable to the federal government from the federation account to 40 per cent, and increase those of States and local government councils to 40 and 20 per cent respectively.
Wine said the current revenue sharing formula that allows the FG to take 52.68 per cent, and the states and local government councils to take 26.72 per cent and 20.60 per cent respectively, is unacceptable.
The governor made this call when members of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) led by its chairman, Elisa N. Mbam paid him a courtesy call at the Government House, Port Harcourt, according to a statement by his Special Assistant on Media Kelvin Ebiri.
Wike noted that despite the changes that the country had been through in the past 29 years, it is regrettable that it has continued to use the 1992 revenue formula prescribed by the military.
He faulted the use of 1992 population figure, public school enrolment and public hospital bed spaces, landmass as formula for allocation of revenue. He argued that a more equitable formula should also take into cognisance current population figure as well enrolment in private schools and number of bed spaces in private hospitals.
He said: “Using the same formula of 1992 as a basis for revenue allocation in this country is so unfortunate. And to worsen the situation under a democratic dispensation, since 1999 till now, our country has not reviewed the revenue allocation formula.”
Wike urged the commission to reduce the revenue accruable to the federal government to 40 per cent because the it has abdicated its responsibility of providing security and basic infrastructure to the federating states.
“You people should reduce the percentage of the federal government. Give them 40 per cent. Give the states 40 percent, give Local Government 20 per cent.
“In that way, most of the responsibilities that belong to the federal government will now be taken away and given to the States.”
“We cannot talk about operating a federal system without having a fiscal federalism. It is practically impossible. Let’s cancel that word federalism, we are operating a unitary system. But you cannot be saying we are operating a federal system, at the same time operating a centralised system,” Wike said.
He, however, expressed reservation about the willingness of the present federal government to implement the recommendations of the revenue mobilisation and fiscal commission, which is currently holding public hearing on new revenue sharing formula across the six geopolitical zones.
Meanwhile, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC), chairman, Elisa N. Mbam explained that one of the major mandate of the commission is to review from time to time the revenue allocation formula to conform with changing realities.
Mbam explained that it has become necessary to review the current formula because the last review was done in 1992. He observed that there has been a lot of changes in the political and socio-economic situation of the country.
According to him, the data that will be collated from the states will help the commission to arrive at a fair revenue formula.
He’s said: “We believe that what we will get from states will help us to come up with a revenue formula that will be fair, just and equitable.”
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