Okowa to National assembly: Give independence to RFMAC on equitable revenue allocation
Governor of Delta state, Ifeanyi Okowa has called on the national assembly to amend the 1999 constitution to include the ‘independence’ of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
This call was made on Monday by the governor in Asaba at a nationwide sensitisation on the existing revenue allocation formula.
According to him, the current practice where recommendations of the commission are presented to the president has led to the non-review of the revenue allocation formula since 1992.
“For quite some time, a lot of talks have gone on in the revenue allocation, and it’s very unfortunate that we are still operating a revenue allocation formula that was actually reviewed in 1992,” NAN quoted Okowa to have said.
“As we look forward to a new revenue allocation formula, we hope that you come out with something that is fair, justifiable and equitable.
“But, the challenge is that when you have done all this work, you are going to eventually, by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, lay this before the president and the president ought to lay it before the national assembly.
“There is a challenge there and there has always been a challenge there, because what is there in our laws that will ensure that the president lays the recommendations of RMAFC before the national assembly?
“We hope that the national assembly takes a look at this amendment because RMAFC is supposed to be an independent commission, a commission on behalf of all federating units and component parts of the federation.
“They cannot tie your hands; the constitution ought to be amended to enable the chairman of RMAFC to directly lay before the national assembly whatever review it has come up with so that nobody stands it down.”
Okowa said the national assembly must do what is right, adding that a federation must operate according to the “principle of justice and fairness.”
“The independence of the RMAFC must be entrenched in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and they must ensure that this aspect of the constitution is reviewed to ensure that the RMAFC chairman lays its report directly to the national assembly,” he added.
“Efforts of the commission can be in vain if the president fails to lay the report before the national assembly.
“No matter how much we propose and no matter how our good intentions tend to be, there is a challenge on the execution of the revenue formula as it ought to be because of limitations in the constitution of the country. And that’s an aspect we have to attend to.
“For good governance in this country and for sustainable development, it’s important that the revenue allocation is revisited in such a manner that more money goes back to the sub-national units in our federation.
“At the moment, the federal government is taking too much of the totality of the revenue accruing to the federation.”
Okowa said the federal government should not be entitled to more than 40 percent while the remaining 60 percent should be shared between the sub-national governments – states and local governments.
Last month, the RMAFC said a revised revenue allocation formula will be presented to President Muhammadu Buhari by the end of 2021.
In the current sharing arrangement, the federal government (including special funds) is entitled to 52.68 percent while state governments get 26.72 percent and LGAs receive 20.6 percent.