James Emejo in Abuja
The process for the review of the nation’s revenue allocation formula has begun with the inauguration yesterday in Abuja of the Revenue Allocation Formula Committee (RAFC) to oversee the exercise.
Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) Chairman, Mr. Elias Mbam, inaugurated the RAFC, chaired by Mr. Amujo Philip Ajayi with Hon. Suleiman Kokori Abdul as vice chairman.
The eight-member committee is expected to among other things consider a review of the revenue sharing formula for the three tiers of government to reflect current economic realities.
Mbam, at the inauguration of the chairmen and members of the standing committees of the commission yesterday, said the agency was constitutionally empowered to among other duties, monitor the accruals to and disbursement of revenue from the federation account; review, from time to time the revenue allocation formulae and principles in operation to ensure conformity to changing realities; advise the federal, state and local governments on fiscal efficiency and methods by which their revenue can be increased as well as determine remunerations appropriate for political/public office holders.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the commission to concentrate more on expanding the sources of revenue to the Federation Account and other non-oil sources, including solid minerals and use all legal ways and means to strengthen the commission’s monitoring mechanism and block leakages of revenue.
As a result of this, he added that it had become necessary to constitute standing committees to handle all issues pertaining to RMAFC mandate.
He said: “The standing committees would be similar to that of the National Assembly. It will be made up of constitutional and in-house committees. The committees shall carry out respectively in-depth study and work on each subject matter.
“The recommendations of the committees shall be forwarded to the plenary session for consideration and possible approval.
“The technical, professional, secretariat and administrative requirements of the committees are to be provided by the secretary to the commission, the various departments, divisions and units as well as zonal/state offices.”
A total of 12 standing committees and six in-house committees were inaugurated by Mbam to pursue and actualise its mandate.
The proposed draft new revenue allocation formula and remuneration packages for political, public and judicial office holders, which had earlier been forwarded by the commission to Buhari during his first tenure for consideration and onward transmission to the National Assembly had suffered a setback as the document did not see the daylight.
In July, during his maiden media parley after he was reappointed as RMAFC chairman, Mbam had said the process towards achieving a new sharing template was only “inconclusive” and not “rejected” as currently insinuated in some quarters.
There has been persistent pressure by state governments for a review of the present sharing formula which allocates 52.68 per cent of federally-collected revenue to the federal government; 26.72 per cent to states and 20.60 per cent to local governments.
The governors have argued that considering their enormous obligations to the people, given that they are closer to the grassroots, the existing sharing formula was no longer sustainable, particularly amid the present fiscal constraints, among others.