Rivers State governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has urged the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to increase the allocations to states and local government areas to 40 percent and 20 percent respectively.
He asked the commission to reduce revenue accruable to the federal government from the federation account to 40 percent.
Wike spoke when RMAFC members led by the chairman, Elias Mbam, paid him a courtesy call at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
The governor said the current revenue sharing formula that allows the federal government to take 52.68 percent, and the states and local government councils to take 26.72 percent and 20.60 percent respectively, is unacceptable.
He observed that despite the changes that the country had been through in the past 29 years, it is regrettable that it has continued to use the 1992 revenue formula prescribed by the military.
Wike, who faulted the use of 1992 population figure, public school enrolment and public hospital bed spaces, landmass as formula for allocation of revenue, argued that a more equitable formula should also take into cognizance current population figure as well as enrolment in private schools and number of bed spaces in private hospitals.
He said, “Using the same formula 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.”
The governor urged the commission to reduce the revenue accruable to the federal government to 40 percent because it has abdicated its responsibility of providing security and basic infrastructure to the federating states.
Wike said, “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.”
The governor 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. “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 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,” he said.
He 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 a public hearing on new revenue sharing formula across the six geopolitical zones.
Earlier, RMAFC chairman, Elias Mbam, had 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 said it had become necessary to review the current formula because the last review was done in 1992. He observed that there have been a lot of changes in the political and socio-economic situation of the country.