Khadijat Saidu, Birnin Kebbi
Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu has stressed the need to lay more emphasis on revenue mobilization in the country, rather than sharing in the proposed review of the revenue allocation formula and changes to the nation’s fiscal arrangements.
The Governor made the call while speaking at a sensitization workshop organized by the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation & Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), on the review of the vertical revenue allocation formula at the presidential Banquet Hall in Birnin Kebbi on Thursday.
Bagudu regretted that, so much emphasis has been placed on the monthly federation account allocation between the three tiers of government.
He said that, yet, the money shared monthly was largely inadequate for all three tiers of government, as such, there is a routine deficit in the provision of the direly needed dividends of democracy to the people.
Governor Bagudu recalled with nostalgia how for instance only a paltry of about N 700 billion, less than 2 million dollars was being shared monthly amongst the three tiers of government.
He said:” I have repeatedly opined that there is a serious resources deficit in the country and it’s taking a negative toll on all of us.
“Even if you review the revenue allocation formula, the states should have five percent more added to what they are getting now.
“There is a fundamental inadequacy and meetings like this should help us to come to agreement.”
The Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum added that Kebbi State, for instance with about five million population was getting between N67 billion to N70 billion yearly.
He said that the state’s Open Government Partnership framework and the officials of the state government would work out its position paper on a new revenue allocation formula.
Bagudu also mulled the idea of focusing attention on other areas of revenue mobilization like gold mining and agriculture, like its being done in other climes.
According to him, Kebbi state is also a party to many transparency and accountability initiatives, as exemplified by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Bagudu therefore commended the Commission for organizing the workshop, saying, “this is to draw attention to the fact that they are taking action for the possible review of the allocation formula.
Earlier, the Federal Commissioner, Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Alhaji Rilwanu Hassan, said that the objective of the sensitization workshop was to enlighten all major stakeholders on the need to participate and make relevant contributions in the process of the review.
“The aim also is to assist the Commission to come up with just, fair, equitable and acceptable revenue allocation formula for the country.
“The 1999 Constitution (as amended) empowers the Commission to regularly review the revenue allocation formula,” he said.
According to him, the Commission, given the changing socio-economic and political dynamics in the nation, was engaging stakeholders to fashion a new sharing formula.
He noted that the review was to fulfill the collective aspirations of the people for sustainable development.
The Federal Commissioner assured that the Commission would take serious consideration all views and recommendations that would emanate from the public hearings.
The sensitization workshop was attended by Government officials, NGOs, CSOs and the media.