The newly reconstituted board of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission resumed work on Monday and vowed to revisit the nation’s revenue sharing formula.
Answering questions from journalists at the inaugural meeting of the 37 commissioners of the body in Abuja, Chairman of the commission, Mr Elias Mbam, declared that the review done by the commission in 2014 was not rejected but inconclusive.
Four years after the RMAFC work on a draft of a new revenue formula for the country, the draft had not been presented to the National Assembly by the Presidency as the procedure required.
Mbam said, “On a new revenue formula, it was not rejected; it was inconclusive. Our main mandate includes monitoring accruals to and from the federation account. It also includes a review of the revenue formula and determination of the appropriate remuneration of political office holders.
“We are not going to leave any of the items. We are going to address all these issues and that is why I say we are going to be more concerned about the sources of revenue.”
Both former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, and current President, Muhammadu Buhari, had frustrated efforts to complete the process required to give life to the draft document because they did not want the Federal Government to lose funds to the subnational governments.
Both Jonathan and Buhari had rebuffed attempts by officials of RMAFC to formally hand over the document to them.
Although the draft document, which is believed to have recommended a higher revenue share for the states, was part of the documents that were presented to Buhari on assumption of office by Ministries, Departments and Agencies, the Presidency had denied officials of RMAFC the opportunity to formally present the draft to the President.
It is the responsibility of the President to send the document to the National Assembly after securing the approval of the Federal Executive Council.
RMAFC, had in a statement on May 3, 2018, confirmed our correspondent’s report that Jonathan did not grant audience to the commission until he left office on May 29, 2015. It also confirmed that Buhari had been intimated of the draft document.
Buhari had failed to take the necessary follow-up actions as approval of the draft document would reduce what goes to the Federal Government from the federation account.
On what the body would do that a new document does not suffer the fate of the 2014 document, Mbam said it was the responsibility of all Nigerians to ensure that the work of the commission succeeded.
Promising that the commission would look into what political office holders earned, Mbam, however, failed to confirm whether the review would go upwards or downwards.
He added that any earning of political office holders outside the approved remuneration was outside the law.
He said, “Anything outside that Act is not known to this commission,” referring to the 2008 Political Office Holders Remuneration Act.
Mbam also promised to establish a committee on diversification and urged members of the commission to pay attention to national values even though they were appointed to represent their various states.
The RMAFC boss said, “I want to assure you that the commission as a family shall provide you with the opportunity to develop and contribute your quota to the socio-economic development of our country.
“Our mandate as a commission is to uphold and promote national interest far above primordial interests. To this end, I implore all members to approach all issues pertaining to the mandate of the commission with an open mind and nationalistic fervour for the development of our country.”
Buhari inaugurated the rejuvenated commission last Thursday. Mbam had served his first tenure as chairman between 2011 and 2015. He was reappointed in July 2016 even though his name was not submitted to the National Assembly until recently.