By Zainab Iwayemi
Nigeria’s lower legislative chamber, House of Representatives (HOR), has requested that the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), design a fresh revenue sharing formula in favou states and local governments on issues bothering resource disposals.
The HOR made the demand at a budget defence session by various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in Abuja on Wednesday.
Reminding the HOR on core function of the revenue mobilization commission, James Faleke, chairman, HOR committee on finance, who interrogated Elias Mbam, chairman of RMAFC, said the commission was established for the sole aim of revenue mobilization for Nigerians.
In the words of Faleke, “Let us make it very clear, chairman (Mbam); the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission is purely established to mobilise revenue for Nigerians and a very core responsibility is the issue of new revenue formula. If you are unable to do this core responsibility, then Nigerians will not be happy with us. Nigerians are saying that the money at the centre is too much.”
Meanwhile, Faleke pleaded with the RMAFC chairman to take serious the relevance of his duties as failure to comply could deter the committee from attending to the budget by next year.
“Where you just sit down and you see the Federal Government sponsoring a lot of projects like N-Power, N-Agric that they have no business with, it shows us that there is so much money at the centre to the detriment of the states. Please, take this your function as very critical. If by next year we are not getting anything towards a new bill, this committee might be forced not to consider your budget,” Faleke said.
However, Mbam, in his presentation faulted the high cost of governance, citing that the commission was already on the verge of introducing a formal review of the sharing formula while revealing that N75 billion was recovered from some probes, as well as another sum of N474 million that was recovered by the commission’s current custom monitoring committee.
“The cost of governance in Nigeria is very high and has continued to be on the increase mitigating against the proper functioning of the commission. This is clearly unsustainable as no country can develop with such a high level of recurrent expenditure,” Mbam said.
The RMAFC chairman further called for the separation of the positions of accountant-general of the federation and the accountants-general of federal government offices.