A former president wants improved deal for States, LGs .
The Chairman, Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, Elias Mbam, on Thursday reassured Nigerians that a new, fair, and credible revenue sharing formula would be out before the end of this year.
The Commission, which is currently on a round of consultative meetings on the issue with various groups and prominent individuals in the country’s six geo-political zones, met with former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, on Thursday in Abuja.
During the meeting, Mr. Abubakar said that he was in support of the agitations by states and local governments for improved revenue sharing formula. He said that that the Federal Government should hands-off from certain responsibilities that ordinarily were better handled by the tiers of governments closer to the grassroots.
The demand by the former Nigerian leader followed a similar call by elder statesmen and civil society groups for improved revenues, particularly for local governments; in order to ensure socio-economic developments at the grassroots, and by implication, reduce poverty level in the country.
Mr. Abubakar canvassed for the Federal Government to ensure the devolution of responsibilities in some sectors, such as education.
“I agree with Nigerians that the Federal Government is taking too much responsibility. I will rather see a dilution of the activities of the Federal Government. For example, Federal Government has nothing to do with secondary school education, neither does the State Governments. I think this is the responsibility of our local government areas,” Mr. Abubakar said.
“And I think it’s time we start thinking of rationing what our local governments, state governments and the federal government do. This will help the Revenue Allocation Commission to make their recommendations on the way forward to share this revenue.”
He also spoke in favour of the adoption of population as a criterion for the determination of who gets what in revenue allocation. He said that this remained a logical option in view of the fact that revenues were meant to be used to meet the needs of the governed.
Mr. Mbam, who spoke on the outcome of the zonal interactive sessions, described it as fruitful. He said that members were better informed on issues that would ultimately determine the outcome of the ongoing exercise.
He said the visit gave the delegation the opportunity to learn more about the materials needed for the exercise.
He assured that by the time the Commission finished the exercise and all the inputs from all Nigerians were considered, the new revenue formula would reflect the issues of the people.
He said the promise to deliver a new formula this year remained sacrosanct, adding that the Commission would work on the various inputs from Nigerians, and its own findings on the field, to meet the deadline earlier set for completion of the project.
“After this, next is to go into retreat and we will produce the result; we have all the materials. We have materials for all the responsibilities of each tier of government, their expenditure profile, the revenue that accrues to them, and we are going to consider, in that direction, what are the responsibilities of each tier of government and what we feel is reasonable enough for them to accomplish that responsibility,” he said.
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