Politics

Gov Okowa canvasses review of revenue sharing formula, new constitution

Mr Okowa says the current arrangement, where the federal government pockets the lion share of the country’s revenues, would not bring about the development it yearns for.

The Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, has called for the review of Nigeria’s revenue allocation formula in favour of the states and local governments.

Mr Okowa made the call at the Ripples Nigeria Dialogue held in Lagos on Wednesday.

Under the current revenue sharing formula, the federal government takes about 52.68 per cent, the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory get 26.72 per cent and the 774 local governments share 20.60 per cent.

Also, the nine oil-producing states of the Niger Delta receive 13 per cent revenue as derivation to compensate for ecological damage of oil production in the region.

This formula was designed during President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administration.

But in 2019, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) said it was considering the review of the formula for the three tiers of government because of the current economic realities.

Mr Okowa argued that the current arrangement where the federal government pockets the lion share of the country’s revenues would not bring about the development it yearns for.

“We need to re-work the revenue allocation formula, we can’t continue to give the federal government too much power and allow the states to suffer,” Mr Okowa said.

He lamented the failure of the government to effect the recommendations from the five-year interval review by RMAFC.

The governor reiterated the need for a new constitution for the country, a position he canvassed in June during the public hearing organised by the National Assembly committee on constitution review.

He expressed regrets that there was lack of political will to devise a new constitution, which he said centralises political and economic powers at the federal level and emasculates the component states.

“The 1999 Constitution (as amended) centralizes political and economic powers in the federal government and emasculates the states by denying them powers to secure their own territories and control their natural resources for the development of their territories and people,” he said.

Mr Okowa also lamented the growing rate of unemployment among the nation’s youth population, adding that it was a major reason for unrest in the country.

He said the youth no longer see a future for themselves.

“Nigerian youth feel hard done by Nigeria’s current climate of hopelessness, massive unemployment, insecurity of lives and property, poor quality disruption-ridden educational system, inaccessibility to quality health care, rising cost of living, and a ruling class living extravagantly in the face of the widening gulf between the rich and poor.

“Truth be told, many of our youth see no future for themselves in this country,” the governor said.

He stressed the need for a quick youth-friendly policy formulation before the country loses its youth brains to other countries.

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