Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has urged the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to reduce revenue accruable to the Federal Government from the federation account to 40 percent and increase those of states and local government councils to 40 and 20 percent respectively.

He spoke through his deputy, Mrs. Ipalibo Banigo, at the public hearing on review of revenue allocation formula for South-South zone, organised by RMAFC, held in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

Wike said the current revenue sharing formula that allows the Federal Government to take 52.68 percent, while states and local government councils take 26.72 percent and 20.60 percent respectively was unacceptable.

The governor had earlier made the assertion when members of the commission  led by its chairman, Elisa N. Mbam, visited him at the Government House.

He observed that despite the changes that the country had been through in the past 29 years, it was regrettable that it has continued to use the 1992 revenue formular prescribed by the military.

Governor Wike faulted the use of 1992 population figure, public school enrolment and public hospital bed spaces and land mass as formular for allocation of revenue.

He argued that a more equitable formula should also take into cognisance current population figure as well as enrolment in private schools and number of bed spaces in private hospitals.

“Using the same formular 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.”

Governor Wike urged the commission to reduce the revenue accruable to the federal government to 40 percent 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 percent. Give the states 40 percent, give Local Government 20 percent. In that way, most of the responsibilities that belong to the federal government will now be taken away and given to the States.”

He noted that the current centralised federal system in operation in Nigeria has made it impossible for most states to look inwards and harness their potentials.

According to him, the country’s vast resources, will continue to amount to nothing if the states  are not allowed to use their resources to drive and determine their development.

“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.”

The governor 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 formular across the six geopolitical zones.

Earlier, RMAFC  chairman,  Mbam, explained that one of the major mandates of the commission is to review from time to time the revenue allocation formula to conform with changing realities.

Mbam explained that it had 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 would be collated from the states will help the commission to arrive at a fair revenue formula.

“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.”

SUN