The new chairman of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Mohammed Bello, has assured that the commission will assist President Muhammadu Buhari administration to get more revenue for the federation, block leakages, implement the constitutional mandate of the Commission.
He disclosed this to State House correspondents on Wednesday shortly after his swearing-in by President Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
While admitting that the task ahead was challenging, he assured that the commission will implement its constitutional mandate.
The responsibility of the commission includes monitoring of accruals to the Federation Account and disbursement, and also monetisation, and taking care of the salaries of political office holders, and judicial officers, as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.
Bello said: “The task is challenging. We all know the situation that Nigeria is, or even globally when you look at contemporary African countries like South Africa, Ethiopia, Ghana and Egypt, and all the economic issues they are facing including Nigeria.
“We had the COVID-19, we had a recession, we now have the war with Ukraine, which has affected many countries and revenues are down all over.
“So our task, as revenue mobilisation, is how we can assist Mr. President, to get more revenue for the Federation, block leakages, looking at the constitutional responsibility of the Commission, which of course are, monitoring of accruals to Federation account and disbursement, and also monetization, taking care of the salaries of political office holders, and judicial officers, as enshrined in the Constitution. That had not been reviewed since 2008. And I think there is agitation for that.
“And also, from time to time, come up with a new revenue allocation formula, which the commission successfully did, sometimes I think, in February this year, and we have submitted our report to Mr. President.
“What he stated at that time was that he was waiting to see what the National Assembly will do in terms of looking at the concurrent list and exclusive list and constitution amendment.
“If he’s satisfied with what the National Assembly does, he will forward a recommendation and make it an Act, so that it becomes a law.
“Revenue allocation formula had not been touched for about 29 years, the Constitution says after five years it can be reviewed, looking at the circumstances of the country, you know, more states have been created.
“And also our other responsibility, like monitoring of Central Bank of Nigeria, Ministry of Finance, Customs, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), those are a huge task for the commission. And of course, don’t forget that revenue mobilization is also a statutory member of the Joint Tax Board, local government joint account, Ecological Fund, and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“Our task is how we can get more revenue for Mr. President. I know there is a lot of debate on whether there is an operating surplus, some of the agencies of government will claim that what they are getting is a surplus of revenue. Revenue is revenue as far as the commission is concerned.
“So my task is to get our members to respond to the task that Mr. President gave them in 2019 when he swore in the new board that tries as much as possible to get more revenue and strengthen your monitoring mechanism.
“That is what we are going to do with all the stakeholders – Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), the Federal Ministry of Finance, every revenue generating agency, we have to collaborate and corroborate to be able to assist Mr. President to get more revenue before he leaves office. This is a task that should be done by every meaningful member of the commission.”
On what he was assuring the president as he assumes duty, the RAMFC chairman said: “Well, I can assure him that the commission, as one of the 14 constitutional Commissions will do whatever it takes to assist him to look for more revenues before he leaves office. And also we will maintain our independence like it has been enshrined in the Constitution.”