BY SOLOMON AYADO and AHURAKA ISAH, Abuja
The Senate has ordered the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to urgently review the current revenue allocation formula, to reflect the ongoing and transforming economic realities of the country.
This even as the legislature charged the commission to proceed on its constitutional mandate to effectively allocate revenue and directed the federal government to hand the proposed revenue collection formula to the National Assembly for deliberation and passage.
The directive of the Senate came through a motion entitled “The need for Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission to discharge its constitutional functions under paragraph 32 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution”, which was sponsored by Senator Muhammad Adamu Aliero (APC Kebbi Central).
According to Senator Aliero, “pursuant to paragraph 32 of the Third Schedule of the constitution as amended, RMAFC was established to among other things review, from time to time the revenue allocation formula and principles in operation to ensure conformity with changing realities.”
He said the principle was subject to the provision that any revenue formula which has been accepted by an Act of National Assembly shall remain in force for a period of not less than five years from the date of the commencement of the Act.
“the present revenue allocation formula has been in operation before the commencement of this democratic dispensation in 1999.There is no extant Act of the National Assembly accepting the present revenue allocation formula which means the formula in use now is unconstitutional”.
“Now that the constitution does not contemplate that a particular revenue formula is to be in force perpetually, in fact the constitution requires the formula to be reviewed every five years.The current formula is blind to present and changing economic realities and unjustifiably skewed in favour of the federal government.
“Most states of the federation are under the bailout of the federal government which runs into billions of naira, and as a result of this bailout, most of the states are deeply in debt and the fear is that successive state governments are going to inherit huge and insurmountable debts. Unless the present formula is reviewed in favour of the states and local governments, real growth and development will continue to elude this great country”.
In his contribution, Senator Mathew Urhoghide (PDP Edo South), cautioned the senate against encouraging states and local governments to relax in their drive for revenue generation to execute projects that would impact on the lives of the people.