The Bayelsa Government has advocated the need for the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to allocate more funds to states.
Gboribiogha John-Jonah (middle)
The government justified its position by saying that states required more funds than the Federal Government to enable them to tackle developmental challenges.
A statement signed by the Special Adviser to Bayelsa Governor on Media Relations, Mr Fidelis Soriwei, said that the state Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha Jonah (Rtd) made this known when members of the Commission led by Alhaji Aliyu Mohammed Sokoto paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Yenagoa.
He also stressed the need for devolution of some responsibilities from the federal government to states to reflect the practice of true federalism.
Jonah also acknowledged that such issues are constitutional and hoped that they would be achieved in the near future.
On the use of land mass as major parameters for revenue sharing, Jonah, urged the Commission to accord special consideration to Bayelsa state, which he said, was grappling with development challenges in view of its difficult terrain.
“When you talk about land mass as a criteria for revenue sharing, we get disadvantaged to some point because Bayelsa is predominantly a riverine state.
“Development in this area is challenging because of the difficult terrain. That is why we are clamouring for more revenue allocation to tackle development efforts.
“The airport we have just finished constructing and waiting for commissioning, the state government pumped a huge amount of sand into that area before we could create land for its construction.
“So whatever thing that can be done to lighten the burden on us arising out of our natural location will be welcome,” Jonah said
He also called for fairness, justice and equity among all Nigerians, lamenting that Bayelsa is yet to receive any support from the National Emergency Management Agency in spite of the fact that it was declared a disaster area during the recent flooding.
“On the 4.18% revenue, which the Federal Government holds in trust, it is believed that all of us have equal access to that fund.
“I want to put on record that in the devastating flood that necessitated the evacuation of many communities in the state, we were also declared a disaster zone.
“We were expecting that NEMA would draw from this 4.18%. Apart from some donor agencies and efforts from the state government, we didn’t get anything up till today.
“And these are the things that make people to start feeling cheated. It’s a national team and every person should be treated fairly and once justice is done, the sky is the limit for this country,” Jonah said.
Earlier in his remarks, leader of the delegation, Alhaji Aliyu Mohammed said members of the Commission were visiting states, the FCT and local governments to verify data provided by them.
The authenticated ataa would be used to fashion out a new revenue allocation sharing formula.
Mohammed noted that the Commission would come up with a new revenue sharing formula early next year.
According to him, the 1999 constitution as amended empowers the Commission to undertake a periodic review of the sharing formula, which he noted was long overdue.
He explained that the current revenue sharing formula stands at 48.5% for Federal Government, 26.7% for states, local governments, 20.6% while 4.18% of the total amount is set aside to address emergency situations by the Federal Government. (NAN)