Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, says an equitable, fair and just revenue sharing formula is germane to development in the country.
The governor made the assertion when some federal commissioners in the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission(RMAFC) led by Chief Nimi Dambo Kalabo paid him a courtesy visit yesterday in Government House, Port Harcourt.
Speaking through his Deputy, Engr Tele Ikuru, the Rivers State governor stressed that, “ the issue of revenue mobilization and allocation is core to the heart of the workings of government,’’ pointing out that it was high time a new revenue formula was worked out in the country.
Amaechi insisted that the present revenue allocation sharing formula where the producer gets less than others was unfair and undemocratic, emphasizing that it was an anomaly for the Federal Government to pay less to those who generate more.
Besides, he called for an improved allocation to the local government councils, saying,” if you say the local government areas are development centres, then more funds should be apportioned to them’’, while calling for an equitable sharing principle.
He assured that his administration would continue to partner with the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) in its sensitization drive on the new revenue formula for states of the federation.
Speaking earlier, the Federal Commissioner and the team leader, Chief Nimi Dambo-Kalabo, noted that the aim of the visit was to have an interactive session with the three arms of the government on the new revenue sharing formula with a view to ensuring that it is just and equitable, adding that “it would be in the interest of the state to bring in what should be done and not what the commission thinks it should be”.
He assured that when once the views of stakeholders were taken, a new and equitable revenue sharing would emerge, as he hinted of plans by the commission to conduct zonal workshops and fora across the country.
The federal commissioner commended the state government for the transformation and development of what he called the ‘’new garden city’’, further expressing appreciation for the hospitality they have received since their arrival.
Meanwhile, Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State has urged the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), to reduce Federal Government’s share of federation account to 40 per cent.
Aliyu made the call in Minna yesterday when he received members of RMAFC who paid him a visit.
The governor said that under the current horizontal sharing formula, equality accounts for 40 per cent; population, 30 per cent; land mass 10 per cent; social factor, 10 per cent and revenue effort accounting for another 10 per cent.
He said under the proposed vertical sharing formula, 40 per cent of the fund should be shared based on equality of states; population, 30 per cent and land mass, another 30 per cent.
“Recent development in our national fiscal framework has introduced some factors into the dynamics of revenue sharing among the beneficiary levels of government in the country.
“These factors, unfortunately, are not so much in tandem with the desired revenue sharing objectives of the ideal federalism we are striving for’’, he said.
Aliyu said credible revenue sharing arrangement in a true federalism must be guided by the objectives of national integration, survival, justice, equity and efficient resource allocation.
The governor called for an interactive session with the government and federal law makers from the state to enable them to have first hand information on the proposed review.
This, he said, would put the state at a vantage position during debate.
He enjoined the media to educate Nigerians on why the proposed sharing formula should favour the states and local governments.
Aliyu said this is because they were closer to the people and for the much needed development at the grassroots.
Amb. Zubairu Dada who led the delegation, said they were in Minna to receive the input of the State Government and stakeholders on the proposed review of revenue allocation formula.
Dada, a Federal Commissioner with the RMAFC, said the visit would enable them to come up with acceptable formula that would guarantee a more peaceful and greater nation.
Our correspondent reports that based on the current vertical sharing formula, the federal government receives 52.68 per cent as against the states’ 26.72 percent from the federation account.
Declare Buhari’s Seat Vacant, Owuru Urges Court
The candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the last presidential election, Chief Ambrose Owuru, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to declare the seat of President Muhammadu Buhari vacant.
Owuru, who was among the four petitioners that went to tribunal to challenge Buhari’s re-election, in his fresh suit, sought for an order to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from “undertaking or planning any other election into the office of the President”, in 2023.
The Plaintiff, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/480/2021, maintained that Buhari is “an unlawful President that is illegally occupying the Presidential seat”.
It would be recalled that Owuru and his party, HDP, had in an earlier appeal they litigated up to the Supreme Court, insisted that the Justice Mohammed Garba-led Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, erroneously dismissed a petition they lodged against the return of Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as winner of the presidential election that held on February 23, 2019.
They specifically prayed the apex court to sack Buhari on the premise that he emerged through an illegal process.
According to the Appellants, INEC, failed to follow condition precedents stipulated in the Electoral Act, when it unduly postponed the presidential election that was originally fixed for February 16.
The HDP claimed that its candidate, Owuru, secured over 50million votes in a referendum that was conducted by both electorates and observer networks that were dissatisfied with the unilateral postponement of the presidential election by INEC.
However, in a unanimous decision, a five-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Odili, struck out the appeal for constituting “a gross abuse of the judicial process”.
Meantime, in the fresh suit, Owuru and his party argued that their suit against Buhari at the Supreme Court was inconclusive.
The Plaintiffs argued that the case was fixed outside the 60 days period that was allowed by the law.
Owuru asked the court to declare him the authentic winner of the last presidential poll, as well as, to issue an order for his immediate inauguration to take over from Buhari.
He prayed the court to declare that he is entitled to serve out a tenure of 4 years after his formal inauguration.
More so, the HDP presidential candidate, aside from asking for Buhari’s immediate removal from office, equally prayed the court to compel him to refund all salaries, allowances and emoluments he collected while he unlawfully stayed in office as President.
Owuru also asked the court to give an order that salaries, allowances and emoluments be paid to him from May 29, 2019, when he ought to have been sworn in, till date.
The Plaintiff further applied for, “An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents by themselves and acting through their agents, servants, privies and or proxies howsoever from any further organizing, undertaking or planning of any other election into the office of the President of Nigeria or any such other Presidential Election interfering, harassing and or disturbing the Applicant adjudged acquired right as unopposed and unchallenged winner of the original scheduled and held the February 16 Presidential Election thereof until the 1st Applicant unserved constitutional four years term of office is served pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit by this honourable court”.
Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the matter were Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, and INEC.
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the matter to be heard.
World Bank Report Exposes Buhari’s Lies, PDP Affirms
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the report by World Bank that 7 million Nigerians have been pushed into poverty in the last year, has clinically belied the integrity posturing of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The opposition party said the World Bank report came in the face of the recent claims by President Buhari that his administration has lifted over 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.
The PDP asserted that the report by the World Bank has further vindicated its position that President Buhari runs an uncoordinated and clueless administration that thrives on lies, false performance claims, deceit, and perfidious propaganda.
The statement added that, “Nigerians can now clearly see why the APC and President Buhari’s handlers are always in a frenzy to attack our party and other well-meaning Nigerians whenever we point to the poor handling of the economy and on the need for President Buhari to always be factual on pertinent issues of governance in our country.
“Unfortunately, it indeed appears that Mr. President enjoys living in denial while watching millions of Nigerians go down in abject poverty, excruciating hunger, and starvation as our country now ranks 98th out of 107 in Global Hunger Index under his watch.
“Otherwise, why would Mr. President claim that his administration has lifted over 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty while official figures even from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show worsening poverty rate with 142.2% growth in food inflation and over 82.9 million Nigerians being unable to afford their daily meals due to the failure of the administration to take practical steps to grow and protect the food sector?
“Under President Buhari, Nigerians are now subjected to the worst form of poverty and hardship, with collapsed purchasing power, occasioned by a voodoo economy management that has wrecked our productive sectors and pummeled our naira from the about N167 to a US dollar in 2015 to the current over N500 per dollar.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. President will choose to always bandy fictitious figures and false performance claims, when he has, in a space of six years, destroyed our national productivity and reduced our country to a beggarly nation, a laughing stock and object of pity among the comity of nations.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note President Buhari and APC’s similar false performance claims in other critical sectors, including power, transportation, road infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, security, aviation among others, where the Buhari administration has been bandying fictitious figures with no tangible project to point at.
“Our party counsels President Buhari, his handlers as well as their party, the APC, to note that Nigerians have seen through their deceitful clams.
“The PDP, once again, urges Mr. President to end his false performance claims and get more competent hands to manage the economy before every Nigerian is turned into a street beggar.”
Amnesty Kicks As FG Pushes Social Media Regulation
Amnesty International has strongly opposed the call by the Nigerian Government to regulate the use of social media and online broadcasters.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had urged the House of Representatives to include regulation of Twitter in the National Broadcasting Commission Act.
The minister made the call at the public hearing on a bill to amend the NBC Act organised by the House Committee on Information.
“I will want to add, that specifically, internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have responsibility to monitor content— including Twitter,” he said.
Reacting, Amnesty International, in a tweet via its Twitter account, yesterday, kicked against the motion.
It noted that when social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the internet and limit access to social media.
It further noted that criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“When social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the Internet and limit access to social media.
“Criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“Regulating social media in Nigeria could be easily abused to punish critics of government policies and actions, and anyone who asks difficult questions could find themselves liable for ‘diminishing public confidence in the government.’
“Seeking a law to prohibit abusive, threatening and insulting behaviour is open to very wide interpretation. This section would pose a threat to critical opinion, satire, public dialogue and political commentary,” the statement added.
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