14 lawmakers vow to pursue bill seeking review of revenue sharing formula

By Ezeocha Nzeh

About fourteen members of the House of Representatives have vowed to reintroduce a bill seeking ammendment of section 162(2) of the Nigerian constitution, seeking a review of the nation’s revenue allocation formula

The bill which was presented at the House of Representatives plenary on Tuesday was however rejected as the sponsors, led by Hon. Awaji Inombei Abiante were asked to withdraw it

But Hon. Abiante and his team have vowed to re present the bill, which they say is aimed at returning the nation’s revenue sharing formula to its pretty independent state and development of the nation

Presenting the bill on Tuesday, on behalf of the 14 lawmakers, Hon Abiante noted that the revenue allocation sharing formula in the country was at fifty percent allocation to the producing state, noting that it was the various military regimes that truncated the process before the country later adopted the 1999 constitution that brought it to fifteen percent.

He therefore called on the National Assembly to approve a review of the 1999 constitution and accordingly reverse to the pre independent constitution that settled for fifty percent

“Mr. Speaker and my distinguish colleagues, issues of revenue; concerns of compatibility; concerns of domination and accommodation of the various minority groups were topmost in the matters raised, discussed upon with seeming understanding, concessions and resolutions reached before independence. In the same vein, Mr. Speaker, before Nigeria’s independence in 1960, there were series of discussions, consultations and agreements leading to the development of an acceptable constitution for the emerging entity Nigeria, setting a firm foundation for Nigeria’s Federal structure.

“The unitary structure that was established in 1914 gradually changed to a 3-regional structure with a weak central government in 1960, 4 regional structure in 1963. Also worthy of mention is the provision and documentation of these agreements in the foundational instrument, the Independence Constitution of 1960 as well as the Republican Constitution of 1963. These amongst other provisions include in particular the 50% derivation from the mining of mineral and the establishment of Niger Delta Development Board which can somehow be equated to the Niger Delta Development Commission of today. If I may, we know that the Philipson Commission of 1946 to 1951 based the revenue sharing formula on 3 factors — the principle of derivation, even development and population. There was also the Hicks-Phillipson commission of 1952 to 1954 which also based its formula on derivation, need, population and national interest.

“Subsequently, Mr. Speaker, the Chicks Commission of 1953 gave full autonomy to the regions and formally established a federal structure of the country while The Raisman Commission of 1958 resolved that the personal income tax be made a regional tax (which was the federating units then and now States-this is still the practice till date)

“Also, this commission created a Distributable Pool Account (DPA) to facilitate collection and sharing of revenue, this is the equivalent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund as captured in Section 80 of the current Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
Binns Commission of 1964 was set up to review the allocation of mining rents and royalties and the distribution of funds from the distributable pool Account among the four regions, following the creation of the Mid-West from the old Western region, but the military intervention on January 15, 1966 rendered them ineffective and deepened the crisis of how to share the fund in the then DPA.”

“Worthy of note is that the Independence Constitution of 1960 and the Republican Constitution of 1963 in Sections 134 {1 (a &b)} and 140 {1 (a & b)} respectively recognizes payment of fifty percent (500/0) of proceeds of any royalty received by the Federation in respect of any minerals extracted/ mining rents derived in any Region in the Country (Copy attached). It is also informative to state that Section 14 of the Independence Constitution of 1960 also recognized the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Board with the main aim of promoting physical development of the Niger Delta (Copy attached), hence the creation of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on 5 th June, 2000 was not new to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“But the very unfortunate military intervention disrupted the people’s participation and keeping faith with agreements reached before independence and unilaterally shifted the bulk of collectible revenue to the federal government on the premise that it needed resources to prosecute the war and maintain Nigeria’s unity. The military also put in place a decree that gave the federal government 1000/0 right of off-shore rents and royalties. The provisions of Decree 13 of 1970 made it mandatory that 800/0 of all onshore mining rents should be transferred to the DPA, leaving 20% for the states to be shared on the basis of the principle of derivation.”

“The implication of Decree No. 13 of 1970 is that it marked the first step toward fiscal centralization in this country. It strived in its entirety to strengthen the financial position of the central government at the expense of the states”

Continuing, the lawmaker stated “we are now in a democracy and now more than ever the call for “true” federalism has been made by Nigerians. It is also trite at this point to remind us that some Nigerians still see the 1999 Constitution as a Military decree.

“Let me even ask, if you borrow a man’s broom to sweep clean your home, will it not be human enough to return same after it has been used”?.
It is in the light of the foregoing that I stand before you to state that the current “not less than thirteen percent” derivation entrenched in the 1999 Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria is grossly inadequate and a mis-representation of the Spirit of pre-independence negotiations and agreements.

“Even in the intent and desire to ensure the rehabilitation and development of the damaged environment where mineral resources are derived for the sustenance and development of the whole country does not also seem achievable with the current practice of 130/0.

“In order to ensure justice and equity in the polity, and also fast-track the development and protection of the region and indeed any part of the Federation as presently is where mineral resource or any revenue is gotten for the running of the business of governance, there is the urgent need to increase the derivation fund from “not less than thirteen percent” to “not less than fifty percent”.
The lawmaker argued that returning the formula to fifty percent would promote mass development in the country, especially at this moment when so many states can boast of having several mineral deposits

” Furthermore, the pooling of our commonwealth at the center and its administration is mired with corruption and misappropriation of funds meant for the development of Nigeria’s economy.

“The dogged transparency of the process is responsible for embarrassing embezzlements going on and subsequently the deprivation of resources for development of states and local government areas where these resources are needed. This is evident in the crisis in the North-West, North-East, North-Central, South East and South-South Zones in form of militancy, terrorism, kidnapping, ethnic cleansing and banditry.

“Mr. Speaker, a hungry man is an angry man. There has been and still exist a worrisome level of deprivation, lack of development and complete absence of security in most places leaving a large chunk of ungovemed spaces. Such areas with endowments of mineral resources are open to pillage by groups both within and outside, invading to take hold of whatever they can and in the process, certain state institutions become highly vulnerable. To make of note, the current tussle in Zamfara’s gold mine between communities is worrisome and if this revenue allocation formula is not reviewed soon, we fear that the resulting massacre for mineral resources will mirror the unfortunate unending bloodbath in the country

The justice in allocation as previously enshrined in both the Independence and Republican constitutions will certainly resolve this issue and make for greater patriotism and a sense of commitment from all. It will also make for greater development hinged on healthy competition as witnessed in the pre-independence Nigeria

“Mr. Speaker, my Honourable Colleagues, this bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by increasing the derivation fund to ‘not less than fifty percent’ so as to ensure the development of all Nigerian states and regions where mineral resources are being extracte
“Notably, there has been discovery of one billion barrel of crude oil and gas in NorthEastern part of the country along the Chad Basin in neighboring Bauchi and Gombe state; there are gold fields in Zamfara, Niger, Osun, Kwara, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Edo and Bauchi states and also the ECT; tin mining in Plateau and Nasarawa state; and gemstones mining (including sapphire, ruby, aquamarine, emerald, tourmaline, topaz, garnet, amethyst; zircon, and feldspar which are among the world’s best) in Plateau, Kaduna and Bauchi states.

“Over 40 million tonnes deposits of talc have been identified in Niger, Osun, Kogi, Ogun, Kano and Kaduna states; and Lagos State has also become oil producing by recent reports. There are also very huge deposits of bitumen, about 42 billion tonnes in Ogun, Lagos, Edo and Ondo States, Coal in Enugu, Benue, Nasarawa, Zamfara, Ondo, and Plateau states; Zinc in Akwa Ibom, Abia, Benue, Anambra, Kano and Taraba states; Kaolin in Delta, Adamawa, Bornu, Katsina, Ekiti, Kaduna, Kogi, Sokoto, Ogun and Plateau sates and the FCT” the bill explained

Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android
Show quoted text

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

This News Site uses cookies to improve reading experience. We assume this is OK but if not, please do opt-out. Accept Read More