The Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Allocation Commission review sensitisation exercise kicked-off in Owerri on Wednesday with Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State insisting that revenue allocation formula must be anchored on fiscal discipline and sense of ownership.
The Governor spoke when he declared the event open, encouraging stakeholders and leaders of thought drawn from the public and private sectors to participate effectively in the sensitization programme.
He harped on the need to prepare their submissions for a public hearing that will hold on October 23 and 14, 2021.
Governor Uzodimma said the sensitization is “a golden opportunity to look at the revenue allocation holistically and for those who have been writing petitions, expressing disgust on the current formula used in the sharing of Federal Revenue since 1992 to use the opportunity and make credible submissions that will be accepted nationwide.”
Though the gathering was on sensitization, Governor Uzodimma used the opportunity to advocate that the powers of legislations on oil and gas be moved “from the Exclusive List to Concurrent List”.
He noted: “Whether the percentage sharing is vertical as presently practised or horizontal, it is important that the percentage for the formula be backed by factors that are national and could be located within the oil Communities.”
The governor expressed dismay over the level of environmental degradation on the oil producing areas, especially in Imo State which he said “is very monumental and devastating”.
He noted that “people are dying every day with all sorts of sicknesses resulting from diseases from the environmental pollution.”
He regretted over the pollution of our rivers, seas, the farm lands, saying that while the fishes are dying and the lands no longer fertile for production, “there must be special provision that will take care of oil producing or bearing Communities.”
The Governor said the attitude of oil companies in most communities is very worrisome as they only enter into MOUs that create confusion and bring quarrels and conflicts in the communities instead of helping the communities to develop their infrastructure, education, health, electricity, good roads as is obtainable in the developed world like what is seen in Huston Texas in United States of America where there is huge oil deposit.
He therefore insisted on a revenue allocation formula that “will introduce fiscal discipline and sense of ownership to the citizens as that is the only way both the Government and the people would be happy with the Federal Government and the Revenue Mobilization and fiscal Commission.”
Briefing the audience on the essence of the sensitization, the Federal Commissioner representing Imo and Abia in the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission, Chief Alozie Akomas explained that the Review is a constitutional matter that ought to take place every five years.
He assured that the Commission is desirous of producing an acceptable revenue formula that will satisfy the yeanings of Nigerians, hence the essence of the nationwide sensitization and public hearing.
He therefore urged all arms of government, public and private individuals to ensure they make submissions that will assist the Commission in her final productions.
Akomas reminded the audience of the need to recognize the constitutional provisions on items on the Exclusive List, the Concurrent list and Special Funds List.
Welcoming the team, the Chairman of the Committee on the Sensitization and the Hon. Commissioner for Finance and Coordinating Economy, Dr. (Mrs.) Doris Anite Uzoka thanked all for coming, especially the Governor and requested that the stakeholders take the exercise seriously as the last bus stop to the demand for Revenue Formula Review.
On behalf of her Committee members, she promised not to fail the Government and the people of Imo State in the assignment.
The event was attended by top government officials, traditional rulers, market men and women leaders, religious leaders, among many other stakeholders.
Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor