The former president also asked RMAFC to focus on revenue mobilisation.
A former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, on Monday stated that the sharing of the nation’s revenue among different levels of governments must be proportionate to their responsibilities.
He made his view known when members of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, paid him an advocacy visit in his Abeokuta home, ahead of the proposed review of the existing revenue sharing formula.
Mr. Obasanjo emphasised that there was a need for the quantification of responsibilities of the different tiers of governments for a fair and equitable revenue sharing formula. He further noted that the items on the exclusive and the concurrent lists in the constitution must be quantified to determine how much of the nation’s resources should be allocated to them.
‘’We must be able to determine how much security, education or health cost and then determine how much should be allocated to each,’’ he said.
Conceding that it was a difficult exercise, Mr. Obasanjo stressed that it was necessary to avoid a lopsided or disproportionate revenue sharing formula. He added that such technical exercise might require the services of experts and therefore counselled RMAFC to engage the services of consultants.
The former president advised that the commission must not jettison the mobilisation aspect of its responsibility, pointing out that previous commissions failed to pay adequate attention to fund mobilisation.
‘’I always want to emphasise the nomenclature of your commission and to stress that mobilisation comes before allocation. Please, note that it is very important that you do not only concentrate on revenue allocation, but you must also seek to find out what the local governments, states and the federal government are doing to mobilise revenue,’’ Mr. Obasanjo advised.
On the issue of local government autonomy, Mr. Obasanjo recalled that that tier of government was first allocated funds directly from the centre in 1976 when he led the military government. He noted that the idea was neither a mistake nor accident but that local governments were meant to operate as ‘’governments’’ in the real sense of the word since they were the closest to the people.
He noted that through the local government reforms of 1976, criteria such as population, space and contiguity were considered for the creation of local governments but however expressed concern that subsequent military governments played down such important factors in the creation of local governments.
Earlier in his speech, the Chairman of the Commission, Elias Mbam, said the body was in Abeokuta to consult with Mr. Obasanjo ahead of the review of the existing revenue sharing formulae.
‘’We feel that we need to consult with you on such a sensitive national issue so as to tap from your wealth of experience. We have been meeting with other national leaders and critical stakeholders across the nation so as to come out with an acceptable formula,” Mr. Mbam said.
He added that the commission would soon commence on zonal public hearings on the issue.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...