James Emejo in Abuja
There are indications that the proposed draft new revenue allocation formula and remuneration packages for political, public and judicial office holders which had earlier been forwarded by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to President Muhammadu Buhari for consideration and onward transmission to the National Assembly have been dumped.
However, the newly reappointed Chairman, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Mr. Elias Mbam, has said the process towards achieving a new sharing template was only, “inconclusive” and not “rejected” as currently insinuated by the public.
Speaking to journalists on his assumption of office, following his reappointment for a second tenure, he said: “I will like to make some clarification; the review as it concerns the commission was concluded by the commission. And if you look at the laws, it is very clear on what the commission should do after concluding its works and that was done.”
He said: “On revenue formula, it was not rejected, it was inconclusive.”
Asked to explain why he chose to describe it as inconclusive, Mbam said: “It is beyond the commission because the commission concluded its own. The commission concluded its advice and it wasn’t concluded from there. So I don’t know exactly what the cause was.”
Meanwhile, he said the current sharing formula and remuneration template had been objectively implemented without favour to any group or individuals contrary to criticisms from some quarters.
According to him: “The remuneration that we are operating on is the same for all public officers, whether you are in the National Assembly or in the executive or the judiciary- it is the same Act that we are still using.
“It is that same Act that provided for them in 2007 that is still being used to determine the appropriate salary and entitlement of ministers, presidents, the members of the legislature and all other political office holders.
“So, we are not favouring any group. It is the same and anyone outside that Act is not known to the commission.”
Asked whether the commission intended to restart a fresh process for a new sharing template following the perceived “death” of the initial draft, the RMAFC boss said: “I am not in a position to say we simply adopt; We have a commission, so the issue will be presented to members of the commission and they will determine how best to approach the issues. So I cannot stay here and tell you that we adopt, meaning I am usurping the powers of everybody and I am not a commission as a person.”
He said: “But on the issue of what could be done, I think every Nigerian should be involved. We should be involved and contribute to ensure that this time, it would not be inconclusive.
“The issue of review of remuneration is not a straight forward (one plus one) but it is derived through a process. You look at the responsibilities of each political office holder and determine what is most appropriate for him or her. But we must do it in such a way that will reflect the economic reality of the day.”
Nonetheless, he vowed to consolidate on his achievements during the first tenure, particularly in the resuscitation of the solid minerals sub sector of the economy.
He said the commission would establish a standing committee on diversification in line with the economic agenda of the current administration.
He also promised to canvass for improved funding of the agency as well as enhance salary structure and welfare of staff going forward.
Mbam, who carefully chose his words, further assured all stakeholders that the commission will pursue and deliver on its mandate effectively and efficiently.
He said: “Our main mandate is to monitor accruals to and from the federation account- revenue that goes into the federation account and leaves the federation account.
“Our other major issues include these reviews of revenue allocation formula and the determination of remuneration appropriate for political office holders.
“We are not going to leave any of the items in the mandate. We are going to address all issues in the mandate and that is why I said we are going to be more concerned about increasing the size and sources of revenue to the federation account rather than fight and dissipate energy over sharing revenue that is getting smaller.
“I want to assure you that all the issues in our mandate will be effectively and efficiently addressed.
“On the issue of expanding the basket, the solid minerals sector has started contributing to the federation account before I left. The details of what will happen there will be handled by the committee.
“There are other sources of revenue that is supposed to accrue to the federation account which the committee when they start work will look at the details and advise the commission on the best way of ensuring that we realise our objectives.”