Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel has called on the Federal Government to upwardly review the revenue allocation to states in order to improve economic growth and enhance industrialization in the country.
Governor Emmanuel made the call on Thursday when members of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) visited him at Government House in Uyo.
He urged the team to reflect the major challenges of the states in their input and work towards its implementation to further assist states tackle pending financial issues.
The governor further appealed to the Federal Government to review the revenue allocation of the state to address the issue of population increase, marine security along the coastal lines, and erosion menace to reduce the burden on the state government.
“Honestly, the current sharing formula is not helping matters at all especially for us in the oil-producing areas. What you sign into law from the center is also a major problem. How can you say that a community will take only 3% of the proceeds of the NNPC? This is generating a lot of heat here but we are trying to manage that.
“So, I hope this won’t be a similar exercise and that what we contribute will be taken into consideration. What we should do is to build and unite the country, coordinate economic activities for our growth and for the interest of everybody so that we can live in peace. I welcome you to the state; be rest assured you will have all our cooperation and the exercise will go smoothly. Please, let it be an exercise that will yield success and not another fruitless labour,” the governor explained.
The governor regretted that the state does not receive revenue from its large gas reserve, and VAT from international oil companies (IOCs) operating in the state.
“Gas is a major issue; I can’t be a state that sits on the largest quantum of gas in this country and I am not getting anything. 36.1% of oil and gas reserve in Nigeria is in Akwa Ibom State and I am not getting anything from gas. So, how is it computed? There is something wrong somewhere; it is wrongly computed.
“These are raw data that can be verified anywhere. Now there is another controversy of VAT. All VAT from these IOCs, where are they paying them to? They are not paying them to us. So, there are many things you should look at and develop for the Federal Government. So, VAT from IOCs, from oil and gas should actually go to the states these things are produced,” the governor added.
In his remark, the RMAFC team leader and Federal Commissioner representing Akwa Ibom State, Sunday Ayang, stated that the visit was to sensitize people in the state on the review of sharing formula between the federal, state, and local governments. He noted that stakeholders will send in their inputs to capture grey areas.
According to Ayang, the constitution provides for the exercise to be carried out in five years to further improve revenue among the three tiers of government.
He noted that the team is working towards presenting memoranda before President Muhammadu Buhari for assessment and necessary actions.