Bayelsa Government, on Thursday, called on the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to review some of its revenue sharing parameters in the interest of equity and fairness.
Gov. Douye Diri made the call while declaring open a sensitisation programme on the review of the existing revenue allocation formula organised by the commission at the Golden Tulip hotel, Yenagoa.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, kicked against the continued use of the number of local governments in a state as a yardstick for revenue sharing.
He said the formula needed to be looked at again.
He pointed out that Bayelsa, with only eight local government areas, but more square kilometers than several states in the country, was being shortchanged.
According to Diri, Bayelsa had about 11,000sq km and some of its local government areas like Southern Ijaw were bigger than five or more council areas in some states.
He also frowned at the decision of the commission allocating revenues accruing from the disputed Soku oil wells to the Rivers, even as the case had yet to be finally determined.
Speaking earlier, when a delegation of the commission, led by the commissioner representing Bayelsa, Mr Alfred Egba paid him a courtesy call in his office, the governor stressed the need for all such revenues to be deposited in an escrow account.
He said: “It is unfair that for a judgment that we are still contesting in court, RMAFC is in a hurry to allocate revenues coming from the Soku oil wells to Rivers.
“We ordinarily had expected that that money would have been kept in an escrow account pending when the case is finally determined.
“We know that Rivers State has a lot of resources and connections, but our take is that the right thing should be done.
The governor said that history should be used to guide the future.
“I say so because this oil dispute we are talking about, RMAFC itself had taken a decision on it several years ago. So, we expect the commission to stand by that decision.
“Secondly, we believe that some of the indicators, you are using to share revenues currently do not promote equity and fairness in this country and therefore not acceptable to us.
“For instance, we do not agree that you should continue to use local government areas as a basis for sharing revenues. It is faulty because the creation of local governments was not done scientifically.
“It was purely political and a case of who was holding the knife and the yam at the time of creating them. And so, those who had the knife cut more to themselves,“ he said.
Also speaking, the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Konbowei Benson, also stressed the need for the commission to review the extant revenue sharing formula in an expeditious manner, as it had been in use since 2004.
Benson, represented by the Permanent Secretary, General Services, Mr Anthony Ikhobo, urged the participants to come up with a more equitable distribution of accrued revenues from the Federation Account.
Earlier in his remarks, the Team Leader, Mr Alfred Egba, had said that the commission would consider the input of the various stakeholders with a view to fashioning out a more acceptable revenue-sharing formula. (NAN)
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