New Revenue Formula Ready December – RMAFC

By The Citizen

The chairman of the  Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC,) Mr. Elias N. Mbam, has affirmed that the commission is to present its recommendations on a new revenue formula to President Goodluck Jonathan for approval in December.

The RMAFC  Chairman unfolded the plans yesterday in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, during the South-east zonal workshop on Economic Diversification and Enhanced Revenue Generation.

He said the workshop, which had been held in four geo-political zones, was aimed at revenue generation.

'All things being equal, by December we will present our recommendations on new revenue formula to Mr. President,' he said.

He explained  that the workshop was aimed at sensitising governments at all levels and other stakeholders on the urgent need to broaden the economic base of the nation by diversifying the sources of revenue in order to meet the increasing expenditure requirements of governance and development.

According to him,  the workshop would provide the opportunity for governments and stakeholders in each zone to share experiences and explore strategies for exploiting and developing the various peculiar resources available in their respective states to enhance their revenue profiles.

He said:  'The commission strongly believes that our economy must be diversified to guarantee the actualisation of the various socio-economic development programmes of government, particularly, the transformation agenda of the present administration. At present, oil and gas resources drive the nation's economy.

'These hydrocarbon resources are exhaustible, non-renewable and vulnerable to international price volatility and politics. Therefore, we must diversify in order to ensure sustainable means of funding our national development and reduce the over-dependence on oil and gas revenue.

'The commission wishes to draw the attention of the three tiers of government and indeed all stakeholders to the need to shift their focus to the real sectors of the economy particularly, agriculture, solid minerals, manufacturing and tourism, which have greatly declined over the years.'

The state Governor, Chief Martin Elechi, while declaring the workshop open, commended the organisers of the programme for hosting it in his state, stressing that the workshop was timely owing to the fact that as oil would soon dry off, Nigeria would  need other alterative sources of revenue generation.

'Unfortunately, instead of increasing our revenue earning options, the discovery and commercialisation of oil occasioned the virtual abandonment of the agricultural sector which had hitherto sustained us. Without doubt, we have continued to pay a very high price for that shift in focus. The incidence of spiralling unemployment, food insecurity and the linkage between our foreign exchange earning capacity and the fluctuations in the international oil market are ready examples,' he said.

His Abia State counterpart, Chief Theodore Orji, who was represented by his deputy, Mr.  Chukwuemeka Ananba,  urged all tiers of government to make prudent use of their resources and refrained from borrowing unless it is tied to the realisation of capital intensive projects that could help sustain their economies.