By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Nelson Alu
Lagos State government, yesterday, reiterated the need for a special status for the state in the sharing formula of revenue allocation by the Federal Government, in the interest of fiscal federalism.
The government and stakeholders maintained that the time for a review of the subsisting revenue sharing formula was long overdue.
They made the demand at a Pre-South-West stakeholders’ meeting on the review of Revenue Allocation Formula by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, held in Agindigbi, Ikeja, Lagos.
The review was the first time in 29 years, after the maiden edition held last in 1992.
However, recommendations arrived at were unimplemented to date, hence the call for a memorandum on the review of the revenue allocation.
Stakeholders at the meeting included representatives of RMAFC, members of the Lagos State Executive Council, lawmakers, local government representatives, who all were unanimous in agreement for an upward review of revenue allocation for Lagos State.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Rabiu Olowo, said: “At this point in the national life, it is important that contributions be made to raise submissions to justify why the review should be effected on articulating positions in asking for a fairer allocation formula.
“The constitutional mandate to review the Revenue Allocation formula is vested in the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC.
“Unfortunately, since the establishment of RMAFC in 1989, the last time we had a successful review was in 1992 and several other attempts to review it within the last 29 years have proved abortive.
“The current revenue allocation formula is far from being realistic. For instance, the number of states has increased from 30 to 36 states, the number of local governments increased from 589 to 774 local governments and, in Lagos, 37 LCDAs have been created to bring government closer to the grass root. The Constitution prescribes a minimum limit of 5years to operate an agreed formula before further review.
“From the publication credited to the RMAFC, Stakeholders at all levels and sectors are expected to participate and express their views which are expected to be the representatives of the views, concerns and yearnings of their constituents across the country.”
On national assets, the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Sam Egube, said: “Lagos is a significant national asset, not just for residents but for national development.
“If it is good for Lagos, it certainly will be good for Nigeria because the call for special status for Lagos supersedes native expression but the national character of the State.
“There is nothing you do in Lagos State that does not contribute directly to national development. When Lagos does not prosper, Nigeria also would not be able to prosper, because Lagos represents the gateway for Nigeria to the world and the world to Nigeria.”
On his part, a Federal Commissioner representing Lagos State at RMAFC, Dr. Adekunle Wright, said: “The Commission is desirous to within the shortest possible time come up with a feasible review for a workable formula that suits present realities.”
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mrs Ayoola Oyeyemi, noted that since its introduction over 32 years, stakeholders have never come under a forum for deliberation to review the revenue formula.
She submitted that it was important for the state to bring up robust memoranda for onward submission towards the upcoming zonal public hearing.