…denies receiving new bill from RMAFC
By Tordue Salem
ABUJAâ€”The Speaker, House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole has declared that the revenue allocation formula presently used by the Federal Government as illegal.
The Speaker in a statement by his Special Adviser on Legislative Matters, Mr. E.U. Ojogwu described the revenue formula in use now as an expired document.
The Speaker wrote in denial of any receipt by the House of Representatives, from the office of the Revenue Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, of a Bill for a new revenue formula intended to be enacted into law by the National Assembly.
The present revenue formula, Bankole noted, had expired since 2002. Though he acknowledged that a Bill for a fresh revenue formula was brought before the last House in 2003, its life lapsed with the end of the 1999-2003, Legislative House and the RMAFC has since, not brought a fresh Bill for ratification by the Parliament.
Senate yet to receive same bill
The Senate, Vanguard also gathered, is yet to receive the new revenue formula the Presidency has claimed to have forwarded to the National Assembly.
The statement stated that, â€œI am directed to refer to your letter on the above subject matter and to inform you that there is no such Bill before the House of Representatives.
â€œOur records have revealed that a Bill to that effect was introduced to the House of Representatives in 2003. It was read the first time, second time and referred to an Ad hoc Committee of the House for further legislative action. On 5 November 2003, it was withdrawn by the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeriaâ€
â€œFurthermore, the Bill was reintroduced in 2005; it was read the first time, a second timeÂ and referred to an Ad Hoc Committee of the House also for further legislative action. It is regretted that the Bill was not reported to the House until the life of that House expired. Consequently, in line with legislative practice and procedure, the life of the Bill also expired.
â€œThe purpose of this letter, the Speaker stated â€œis to advice that you request the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to reintroduce the Bill to the National Assemblyâ€
In a letter forwarded to President Umar Musa Yarâ€™Adua and dated 5 June 2008, the Chairman of the RMAFC, Dr. Hamman Tukur had warned the President of the expiry of the then revenue formula and a need to present a fresh notice of a bill to amend the formula.
He also agreed in that letter, following the provision of section 162(2) of the Constitution that the present revenue formula has expired.