*As Reps task RMAFC on fair, just review of revenue allocation
By Tordue Salem
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has agreed with the Chairman of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Engr. Elias Mbam on the need to review the twenty-nine-year-old revenue sharing formula.
The Speaker said, “in its attempt to review the revenue allocation in the country, which was last done almost 30 years ago, the commission should ensure that all stakeholders were carried along and that all necessary things are done so that the final report could not be faulted”.
Gbajabiamila, who hosted the management of the commission led by its chairman, Engr. Elias Mbam for a courtesy call on the leadership of the House on Tuesday at the National Assembly said the current realities should necessitate a review of the revenue allocation.
“I’m glad you’re here. Your commission is one of the unsung heroes. You’re of the 14 institutions established by the constitution, while all others were established by other laws.
“It’s almost 30 years that the last review was done. It’s such a long time. A lot has changed from 1992 to date.
“I charge you to do your review, not based on any sentiment. You should consult widely so that your report won’t be faulted. I’m glad you said you’re conducting public hearings. It’s good to do that, to seek people’s opinions.
“You should work based on the principles of justice, equity and fairness,” Gbajabiamila said, adding that Nigeria is a peculiar country, hence the need to do a thorough and diligent review.
He said the House would support the commission in whatever way possible, noting that the commission’s management was at the right place to seek support.
On the issue of amendment of the RMAFC Act, Gbajabiamila asked the agency to provide specific areas that needed to be amended, especially on the issue of the Petroleum Industry Act as cited by Engr. Mbam.
“In terms of autonomy, I need to know if you don’t enjoy autonomy and how you’re not autonomous. The House is here to partner with you. We must work together. We must give you the enabling environment to operate effectively.”
Earlier, Engr Mbam informed the House leadership that the visit was to seek the support, advice and guidance of the House on the planned review of revenue allocation that the commission was to embark on.
He said since the last review in 1992, things have changed and that there was the need to review the revenue allocation to accommodate those changes.
He said: “We now feel strongly that the review has become necessary. A lot of things have changed since 1992.
“There are concerns now that were not there before. So, there is the need to review the allocation to make sure that what every tier of government gets is in line with its current responsibilities.”
As part of the plans for the review, Engr Mbam said the commission has embarked on wide consultations across the country including visiting past presidents, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, the judiciary, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) as well as engagements with the media, CSOs, among others.
He said the commission has commenced sensitization in different states and that it would hold public hearings with regard to the planned review, starting with the Southwest next week.
Engr Mbam thanked the Speaker for accepting to host them on short notice, saying “if all Nigerians will work like this, we all will be better for it.”