Seven states from the Northwest, yesterday, asked the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to give it lion share of revenue to state and local governments.

They argued that the two tiers of government should take 60 per cent while the Federal Government takes 40 per cent, pointing out that state governments are also saddled with funding of security apparatus, which is the sole responsibility of the Federal Government.

The states – Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Jigawa, Kebbi and Zamfara – in their separate presentations, made the demand during the zonal public hearing on the review of the current allocation formula, held in Kaduna.

In the current sharing arrangement, the Federal Government (including special funds) is entitled to 52.68 per cent, while state governments get 26.72 per cent and LGAs receive 20.6 per cent.

In its presentation, Katsina called for 35 per cent for states, 25 per cent for local governments. The Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Alhaji Farouk Jobe, said: “The revenue allocation was long overdue and its review is timely because it is getting to 30 years that the allocation was reviewed.”

Secretary to Kano State Government, Alhaji Usman Alhaji, lamented that the Federal Government was taking too much of the revenue. “Federal Government should take 41 per cent, states 34 per cent, LGAs 24 per cent and we need an independent one per cent for Kano because it is a mini-Nigeria,” he said.

The Jigawa State Commissioner for Finance and Budget, Alhaji Ibrahim Babangida Umar, proposed 44 per cent for federal, 34 per cent for states and 22 per cent for local government.

Kaduna State Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mohammed Shuaibu, said: “Certain percentage be set aside for poverty/insecurity-ridden states, and 13 per cent derivation should remain, but extended to mineral resources.”

In his keynote address, host governor, Nasir el-Rufai, said: “The Federal Government retains the largest chunk of federation resources because it does too much but is too stretched and so does little well. Yet, the things that really matter to citizens are state and local government functions. For instance, basic and secondary education, primary healthcare and agriculture are sub-national responsibilities.”

The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, said: “With the way things are, many states have to support the federal security agencies deployed within their jurisdictions, despite the fact that security is a federal responsibility.

“Therefore, the argument for a significant review, in favour of states, of the vertical revenue allocation formula is compelling. The Federal Government has to consolidate its focus around security, foreign affairs and monetary and fiscal policy. It should allow the states and the local governments to get more revenues to deliver better governance at the grassroots.

“The APC True Federalism Committee, which I chaired, had recommended a review of the revenue allocation formula in favour of the states. In my view, this is the most efficient way to adjust the finances of the federation while transiting to a wider devolution of powers and responsibilities. The progress and development of our country depends on well-functioning states. The revenue allocation formula is critical to that.”

Chairman of RMAFC, Elias Mbam, in his remarks, explained that revenue allocation was not reviewed for 29 years contrary to Constitutional provisions of every five years because of socio-economic and political changes in the country. The allocation was last reviewed in 1992.

He said the Commission was ready to present a new revenue sharing formula to the President for onward transmission to the National Assembly by December, adding that ongoing consultation and sensitisation across the country were aimed at avoiding past pitfalls that made past attempts to review the formula unsuccessful.

“As you may all be aware, RMAFC by virtue of paragraph 32 (b), part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is empowered “to review from time to time the revenue allocation formula and principles in operation to ensure conformity with changing realities, provided that any revenue formula, which had been accepted by an Act of the National Assembly shall remain in force for a period of not less than five years from the date of commencement of the Act.

“In line with the above constitutional provision and the fact that there had been several socio-economic and political changes in the country since the last review in 1992, the Commission has commenced the process of reviewing the subsisting revenue allocation formula to reflect these changing realities. Accordingly, the Commission has designed processes and guidelines to ensure adequate participation of Nigerians,” the RMAFC boss said.

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