Everest Amaefule, Abuja
The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission on Monday came close to confirming The PUNCH’s exclusive report that the Federal Government under two Presidents had frustrated the nation from getting the much sought-after new revenue formula.
In a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Monday, the RMAFC confirmed that former President Goodluck Jonathan did not grant officials of the commission audience to present a draft new revenue formula, which was ready by December 2013.
It also said that the present administration headed by President Muhammadu Buhari had been informed of the draft document.
Our correspondent had reported that although the draft document had been handed over to both Buhari and Jonathan, the Presidency had not granted access to officials of the RMAFC to formally present the new formula to both presidents.
According to laid down procedure, the President receives the draft formula, presents it to the Federal Executive Council, which approves it before he makes it available to the National Assembly.
It was gathered that both Jonathan and Buhari had refused to receive the draft document because RMAFC recommended a new formula that would reduce the Federal Government’s share of the Federation Account.
In a statement signed by Head, Public Relations, Ibrahim Mohammed, RMAFC also denied reports that the current revenue formula was illegal.
Mohammed said, “The commission prepared another revenue allocation formula report in December 2013, which was duly communicated to former President Goodluck Jonathan in January 2014.
“However, the commission was not granted audience to submit its recommendations to President Jonathan up to the end of his tenure in May 2015. The current administration has also been informed of this development.”
Our correspondent also reported that another report for the review of the remuneration of political office holders had suffered a similar fate following the denial of access by the Presidency to officials of RMAFC to make a presentation to Buhari.
The commission had embarked on the review of the remuneration of political office holders following an outcry by Nigerians that the officials were earning too much in the light of the decline in the country’s earnings resulting from the fall in international prices of crude oil in 2015.
Mohammed decried recent media reports alleging that the current revenue allocation formula was illegal on the grounds that it was never submitted to the National Assembly by Mr. President.
He stated, “The commission recalls that the first revenue allocation formula duly passed by the National Assembly was in 1982 during the Second Republic of former President Shehu Shagari. After the military takeover, the Act was amended by Decree No. 106 of 1992, which continued to operate up to 1999.
“It is instructive to note that with the return of democratic rule in 1999, all laws were considered as existing laws as provided for by Section 313 of the 1999 Constitution and therefore Acts of the National Assembly, which apply to the extent that they conform to the provisions of the constitution.
“Following the Supreme Court ruling in the AGF vs Abia and 36 others, which voided some of the provisions of CAP 16 as (amended), Mr. President, as the relevant authority, invoked his power under the provision of Section 315 sub-sections 1 and 4 to issue the Modification Order to bring the voided provisions into conformity with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
“Consequently, the President and the governors met and resolved some grey areas in the provision of the Modification Order, hence the implementation directives released by the Minister of Finance on 15th of January, 2004, which is the formula currently in operation.”
He added, “Furthermore, the commission had in August 2001 reviewed the revenue allocation formula and submitted its report and recommendations to President Olusegun Obasanjo. The advice and recommendations were promptly forwarded to the 4th National Assembly for deliberations.
“However, the commission had cause to withdraw its recommendations to make some necessary adjustments because the Supreme Court Judgment of 5th of April, 2002 had actually affected some of the recommendations as proposed by the commission in its 2001 report.
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