AS the federation excess crude account dropped from $27 billion to $7billion, the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has predicted doom for the Nigerian economy. Chairman of RMAFC, Mr. Hamman Tukur, who took a critical look at the performance of the economy during the visit of Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomohole, to the commission in Abuja on Wednesday night, gave it a verdict of doom.
He said that in view of the way the nation’s economy was being plundered, it would not be long before the nation ground to a halt. He told the governor that the Excess Crude account, which is the country’s savings, had been drawn down from $27 billion to $7 billion and that government was still withdrawing from it.
According to him, the only revenue accruing to the country was the collection from Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), customs duties, and Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT). The chairman queried the relevance of Joint Venture Cash Call (JVC), saying that it was another drainpipe in the economy.
“For instance, from August till October, Nigeria has not got one dollar from the total crude sold. Yet, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has paid over N560 trillion to JVC. Rather than find a solution to this, the government reverted to the excess crude account, where it took N12 billion to reflate the economy. Now we are eating into the domestic account. One day, you will wake up and there will be no government.”
He sought the support of the governors to help the commission to challenge the anomally. He further noted that the commission had released a formula on how the oil derivatives would be shared, but that it had been abused. “It is an appeal by this commission for you to help us appeal to your colleagues for support,” he pleaded.
Tukur also condemned the revenue formula being operated in the states, saying that it was at variance with what the commission designed and recommended. He said that the commission designed a new formula, which increased the percentage of states’ allocation from 24 per cent to 31.6 per cent and this was done amidst petitions and protests from several quarters. He said state governments were supposed to get more allocations than the Federal Government but the reverse was the case. He said in the face of the abuse, the governors were not doing anything about it.
“How can you allow an illegal formula to operate in the states?,” he said.
Referring to the N18 billion which was released to build health centres across the country, Tukur said that out of that amount, only N6 billion had been used and the rest of the money had been with the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mallam Ibrahim Dankwambo. “Only N6 billion was used. We even brought the matter before the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) but we did not have their support,” he said.
Oshiomhole, in his remarks, promised to take Tukur’s observation to the Governors’ Forum, where it would be discuss them very exhaustively. He said that the nation had no data, otherwise, it would have known the quantity of illegal crude being bunkered on a daily basis.
Fielding questions from newsmen at the end of his visit, Oshiomhole said: “I am very appreciative of the courage which the commission has shown, because they have a very important constitutional role. And I happened to have known some of the commissioners. They are my good friends. So, I have come to say hello and also to acknowledge the good work they have been doing.
‘’Even under the former president (Olusegun Obasanjo), this was the only agency in my recollection that publicly expressed its position that was at variance with what the former president wanted. We tried to go to court to enforce the constitution and to ensure that the states get the revenue they were entitled to. And I thought that I should come to appreciate that,” he said.
Culled from Tribune