By Stephen Ubanna
Between 2020, and now, the governors of the 36 states of the Federation, under the umbrella, of the Nigerian Governors Form, NGF, had mounted severe pressure on the Leadership of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RM AFC, established ‘’to handle revenue allocation and fiscal matters’, for the country on a continuous basis, to force it to review of the current revenue sharing formula between the three tiers of government: Federal, state and Local Governments levels, described as overdue for review.
Kayode Fayemi, governor of the south west state of Ekiti and Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, had said that ‘’the review of the country’s current revenue sharing Formula has become very imperative because ‘’ the states bear heavier burden’’. He had said that the financial burden shouldered by the state governments had made the subsisting revenue sharing formulae which is lopsided in favaour of the Federal government to be subjected to total review with no hold bars.
The NGF Chairman, may have sent a message to President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General, that the states may no longer need handouts from the Federal government to run their government but would want to be allocated what is due to them from the Federation Account to properly fund primary/basic education, primary healthcare and provision of infrastructural facilities in their respective states. The Ekiti governor noted that most of the governors had undertaken the rehabilitation of Federal roads in their states for which refunds were never refunded as agreed despite assurances by the Katsina state born Nigerian President.
Note that the current revenue sharing Formula of the country had given the Federal 52.68, states, 26.72% and the balance of 20.60% , allocated to the 774 Government Areas of the Federation. In addition , the oil producing states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Ondo, Abia, Imo and Rivers, were allocated 13% of the revenue as derivation to Compensate for ecological degradation caused by oil production in the Niger Delta region.
Elias Mba, the Chairman of RMAFC, may have gotten the message of the governors right that he had given his words that a new revenue sharing formula between the three levels of government will be ready before the expiration of the Buhari Administration in 2023. This may have forced him and his Commissioners to go back to the drawing board to produce a new revenue sharing formula between the Federal, states and Local government levels to replace the old one that had been in use over the last 28 years.
The Nigerian President may have saved the leadership of the RMAFC, the troubles of looking on how to settle the oil Producing states with the signing of the Petroleum Industry bill , into Law. The bill which had been split into four comprising of the Petroleum Industry bill, Fiscal Regime bill, Upstream and Midstream Administration bill including the Petroleum Host Communitie bill may have looked into the Compensation to the oil producing Communities without pressure on the Federation account. The PIB, had approved a three percent allocation of the operating Cost of the oil producing Companies to the Petroleum bearing host Communities.
Given that the Petroleum bearing states have no derivation allocation from the Federation account any longer,may have informed why the Leadership of the RMAFC, had released the proposed new revenue Formula between the three tiers of government.
Given an insider information of the proposed new Revenue sharing Formula for the Federal, state and Local governments, Mba, the RMAFC boss, had said that the Commission had proposed 52.6% for the Federal government , 26.7% for the states and the balance 20.6% for the 774 Local government Areas, across the country, to the National Assembly for Approval and which in turn would be signed into Law, by the Nigerian President before it will be put to use.
An elated, RMAFC, Chairman, is optimistic that the proposed new Revenue sharing Frmula, will go a long way ’’to address’the issues of poor infrastructure , ecological challenges and the series of agitations for a review by the state governors over the years.
He may have gladdened the heart of the governors when he said that the proposed new Revenue sharing Formula btween the three levels of government : Federal, state and Local governments, will be implemented by the end of this 21 , 28 years , after the Commission had conducted a review of it.
Informed sources told The Value News that that Commission has programmed to completethe review process by the end of 2021. Aware of the fact that a review of the propose new Revenue sharing formula will be incomplete without inputs from other Nigerians may have encouraged the RMAFC Leadership, to have asked the people to be part of the current exercise ‘’ by making relevant inputs that will further enrich the exercise’’.
Note that members of the RMAFC, Committee that are , reviewing the old Revenue sharing Formula, which was last reviewed in 1993, during Obasanjo’s Administration are drawn from the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. Mba, who is the Chairman of the Committee, may have been involved in formulation of the proposed new Revenue sharing policy between the three tiers of government in his capacity as the Chairman of RMAFC.
Perhaps, to ensure the full participation of the Nigerian in the review of the Old revenue sharing formula process, way have facilitated the RMAFC, sensitizsation Campaign with Victor Eboigbe, a Federal Commissioner in the Commission, at the instance of Mba, the Chairman, paying a visit to Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo state as a prelude to visiting other states of the Federation and the FCT. He was said to have told the south-south geo-political region governor that they have no cause to worry about the proposed new revenue sharing formula as it is ’’ people- oriented’’ He had said that the Commission embarked on the sensitization Campaign ‘’to aggregate and mop up the views of Nigerians by interacting with them at different levels and evolve a new, fair, just and equitable revenue sharing formulae’’.
The RMAFC, helmsman may have opened up on the membership of the Committee when he opined that as at August 8, 2021, 32 states of the federation and the FCT, excluding the north west state of Bauchi, north central state of Kogi and south east states of Enugu and Imo, are yet to send their own Representative, fueling speculations making the rounds that the Committee sitting may drag on for months to to accommodates yet to send Representatives to do so.