Obasanjo tasks RMAFC on revenue sharing

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said on Monday that the sharing of the nation’s revenue among different levels of governments must be proportionate to their responsibilities.
Obasanjo stated this in Abeokuta, Ogun capital, when members of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) paid him an advocacy visit ahead the proposed review of the existing revenue sharing formula.
He stressed the need for the quantification of responsibilities of the different tiers of governments for a fair and equitable revenue sharing formula.
The elder statesman said the items on the Exclusive and the Concurrent Lists in the constitution must be quantified to determine how much of the nation’s resources should be allocated to them.
‘’We must be able to determine how much security, education or health cost and then determine how much should be allocated to each,’’ he said.
While conceding that it was a difficult exercise, Obasanjo emphasised that it was necessary, to avoid a lopsided or disproportionate revenue sharing formula.
He said such technical exercise might require the services of experts and therefore counselled them to engage the services of consultants.
Obasanjo also stressed that the commission must not jettison the mobilisation aspect of its responsibility.
He expressed concern that previous commissions failed to pay adequate attention to fund mobilisation.
‘’I always want to emphasise the nomenclature of your commission and to stress that mobilisation comes before allocation.
‘’Please note that it is very important that you do not only concentrate on revenue allocation; but, you must also seek to find out what the local governments, states and the Federal Government are doing to mobilise revenue,’’ Obasanjo advised.
Obasanjo, who also bore his mind on the issue of local government autonomy, said that the tier was first allocated fund directly from the centre in 1976 when he led the military government.
He said the idea was neither a mistake nor accident, but that such tiers of governments were meant to operate as ‘’governments’’ in the real sense of the word, since they were the closest to the people.
He noted that through the Local Government Reforms of 1976, criteria such as population, space and contiguity were considered for the creation of local governments.
He however expressed concern that subsequent military governments played down on such important factors in the creation of local governments.
Chairman of the commission, Elias Mbam, who spoke earlier, said the body was in Abeokuta to consult with Obasanjo ahead the review of the existing revenue sharing formula.
‘’We feel that we need to consult with you on such a sensitive national issue, so as to tap from your wealth of experience.
‘’We have been meeting with other national leaders and critical stakeholders across the nation, so as to come out with an acceptable formula,’’ Mbam said.
According to him, the commission will soon begin zonal public hearings on the issue.

Daily independent
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