BAYELSA DEMANDS 50% DERIVATION FUND
…CALLS FOR TRUE FISCAL FEDERALISM
As the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), rounds off its public hearing on the review of the existing revenue allocation formula in the six Geo-political zones, the Bayelsa State Government has made a demand of a minimum of 50 per cent revenue derivation.
Speaking through the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Edmund Allison-Oguru, at the opening of a 2-day public hearing for the South-South Geo- political zone in Yenagoa on Thursday, the State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson said the demand for upward review of revenue allocation became imperative noting environmental challenges arising from exploration activities of the multinational oil companies in the region.
Lamenting the level of environmental degradation occasioned by oil exploration and exploitation activities in the Niger Delta, the Governor pointed out that the current 13 per cent derivation principle was grossly inadequate to address the challenges confronting the region.
Calling for a reduction of money accruing to the Federal Government from the Federation Account, the Governor submitted that such reduction would discourage the struggle for political power at the national level and enhance the capacity of the State and Local Governments to accelerate development and make life more meaningful for the people at the grassroots.
“The enormous resources at the centre have fostered a do or die mentality among the political elites of this country, most of who go to the extreme to achieve their political ambitions to control the centre. States favoured by the principle of revenue sharing such as population and landmass have grown steadily dependent on allocation from the federation account and have lost initiative and drive in matters of economic planning and revenue generation.
Consequently, Governor Dickson called on the commission to come up with a more acceptable and equitable revenue formula just as he urged the national assembly to expedite the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law.
In his words: “the RMAFC should revisit the era of 100%, 50% or 30% derivation formula to reflect true federalism. It is a well known fact that the exploration of oil in the Niger Delta region has not only exploited the people of the area but also made the area toxic resulting into massive pollution of the environment which has in turn adversely affected the agrarian and subsistence lifestyle of the people.
‘The current 13% derivation principle has become increasingly inadequate to surmount the huge developmental challenges confronting the area.
“That is why it has become imperative for the National Assembly to expedite action on the Petroleum Industry Bill, which I believe when passed into law, will adequately address the lopsided revenue allocation formula especially to the oil producing states and communities of the Niger Delta.”
In his remarks, the Chairman of the RMAFC, Engr. Elias Mbam, said the commission decided to embark on the public hearing in line with the provision of the 1999 constitution, which empowers it to review the revenue sharing formula periodically.
According to him, the exercise will enable Nigerians to make their inputs into the review process that will bring about a new sharing formula that will conform with changing realities in the country.
Engr. Mbam who described the south-south zone as one zone that has demonstrated strong commitment to national development, called on the people to avoid utterances and unrealistic demands capable of heating up the polity.
The 2-day public hearing for the South-South zone ends on Friday in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State Capital.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa State