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New sharing formula to address current realities: RMAFC boss

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Elias Mbam

The Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), says a new and acceptable revenue formula that will tackle new development realities in the country will be in place.

Elias Mbam, the commission’s chairman, gave the reassurance on Sunday in Abuja.

He was analysing the successful engagements the commission had with various stakeholders across the country.

He commended Nigerians for their effective participation during the commission’s zonal public hearing for a new revenue sharing formula. 

Mr Mbam reiterated the determination of RMAFC to come out with a credible, acceptable and fair new revenue sharing formula for the country. 

He said that the commission would synthesise and analyse the various presentations from stakeholders’ across the six geo-political zones and the Federal Capital Territory. 

Mr Mbam, especially, commended the 36 state governors for mobilising the people to massively and effectively participate in this all important national issue.       

He recalled that when President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the board of RMAFC on June 27, 2020, he charged the members to be fair and just to all tiers of government in the review of the current revenue allocation formula. 

He reiterated the commission’s commitment not to compromise RMAFC’s constitutional mandate for whatever reasons.

The consensus of the states and the federal government at the various zonal public hearings was a reversal of the current sharing formula.

The existing formula gives 52.68 per cent to the Federal Government, the states 26.72 per cent, the local governments 20.60 per cent, with 13 per cent derivation revenue going to the oil-producing states.

There was, however, no consensus on what the new sharing formula should be, a decision to be taken by RMAFC, which has the constitutional right to do so.  

The federal government had, through Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, proposed an increase in revenue allocation to local governments from 20.60 per cent to 23.73 per cent. 

He added that it was also being proposed that allocation to the federal government be reviewed downward from 52.68 per cent to 50.65 per cent, states from 26.72 per cent to 25.62 per cent, with allocation for derivation remaining at 13 per cent. 

“Development needs to start getting to the local governments for the nation to get fully developed,” he said.

Mustapha stated that the issue of revenue allocation should be handled constructively, especially in the face of dwindling revenue and the need for states to increase their internally-generated revenue (IGR). 

“It is an important fact that this review should culminate in improved national development,” the SGF said, adding that the process would culminate in the enactment of an appropriate Act by the National Assembly.

On its part, Lagos State Government at the South-West Zonal Stakeholders meeting proposed: federal government: 34 per cent, states  42 per cent, local government councils, 23 per cent and Lagos State (Special Status, 1 per cent). 

Mr Mbam at the various zonal public hearings reiterated that the revenue allocation review was not intended to change the fiscal arrangement of the country.

“Whether we are devolving power or going into a complete system of federalism or we are restructuring is not the concern of this review. 

“The review of the mobilisation and revenue allocation is a product of law and an Act provided by the 1999 Constitution as amended,’’ he said.

The RMAFC boss explained that the height of responsibility of any of the three tiers of government would determine what it would get. 

He said: “If the federal government is confirmed to have a high responsibility, it will get an equivalent of that responsibility as allocation. 

“If it is the local government that has more responsibility, it will be done the same way. Our position is that the more responsibility of a tier, the more money it gets.’’

(NAN)

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APC Crisis: Ex-Gov. Yerima calls for unity in Zamfara

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Ahmed Sani Yerima

Former Governor Ahmad Yerima of Zamfara has called for unity in the All Progressives Congress (APC) family in the state, urging those challenging the party’s leadership in the state to stop in the interest of peace.

Mr Yerima said this when he received newly inaugurated state executives of the party at his residence in Gusau.

Yusuf Idris, APC’s publicity secretary in Zamfara, disclosed this in a statement in Gusau on Monday.

The statement said the executives’ visit was to show appreciation to APC stakeholders in Zamfara over their emergence under the chairmanship of Tukur-Umar Danfulani.

“During the visit, Danfulani promised to show leadership by example, promising that all loyal members will be fully engaged in party activities,” said the statement.

It added that the executives also visited former Governor Mahmud Shinkafi, serving and former lawmakers at the National and State House of Assembly, among others.

(NAN)

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COVID-19: Botswana confirms 19 Omicron cases

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Botswana Health Minister, Edwin Dikoloti, has confirmed 19 cases of the newly-discovered Omicron variant of COVID-19.

“Such detection should not be confused with Botswana being the country of origin of the strain,” the Botswana health minister said.

Mr Dikoloti disclosed this at a briefing that additional assessments and analyses of other positive COVID-19 samples had revealed 15 more cases of the Omicron variant on Sunday after four foreigners were declared infected.

“We will continue to expand our conduct tracing to ensure that no potential cases go undetected,” Mr Dikoloti stressed.

He further stated that the initial cases of the Omicron variant in Botswana were detected after four foreign nationals, who had briefly visited Botswana, tested positive for COVID-19 on November 11. 

The variant was confirmed as the Omicron variant on November 24.

(NAN)

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Omicron: Philippines launches ambitious vaccination drive

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1637324641 Coronavirus

The Philippines on Monday launched an ambitious three-day vaccination drive to give COVID-19 shots to up to nine million Filipinos amid the threat of the highly mutated Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Thousands of security forces and volunteers were deployed nationwide to implement the campaign, which was being held as the country again imposed international travel restrictions.

“The national vaccination day is very timely and truly a milestone in our COVID-19 pandemic response and mitigation efforts,” Carlito Galvez, the country’s vaccination chief, said. “Inoculating nine million individuals in three days is our most ambitious target so far.”

According to the Department of Health, three million people would be vaccinated a day or nearly four times the average of 813,734 daily doses in the past week.

The department said before Monday, more than 35.78 million Filipinos had been fully vaccinated, or over 32 per cent of the country’s total population of 110 million.

The government aims to vaccinate 54 million people by the end of 2021 and 77 million by next March.

Mr Galvez said with the country’s increasing supply of vaccines, the key was now to “accelerate and expand the capacity” of local government units, especially those outside the capital region of Metro Manila.

The Philippines banned flights from 14 countries, including seven European nations, due to rising COVID-19 cases and the detection of the Omicron variant.

The government also indefinitely delayed a previous decision to start accepting some foreign tourists again from December 1. 

(dpa/NAN)

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