Using LGAs as basis for revenue sharing unacceptable, says Bayelsa governor
Governor of Bayelsa state, Duoye Diri has criticised the use of LGAs as a basis for revenue sharing in the country.
This displeasure was made known by the deputy governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo who represented the governor while declaring open a sensitisation programme on the review of the existing revenue allocation formula.
The event was organised by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) in Yenagoa, the state capital, on Thursday.
Diri said the existing formula needs to be looked into.
According to the governor, the RMAFC should review some of its revenue sharing parameters in the interest of equity and fairness.
The current formula gives 52.68 percent to the federal government, the 36 states share 26.72 percent, while 20.6 percent goes to the 774 LGAs.
The governor said Bayelsa, with only eight LGAs and more square kilometers than several states in the country, is being shortchanged.
He said Bayelsa has about 11,000 square kilometers and some of its LGAs like Southern Ijaw are bigger than five or more council areas in some states.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Diri also faulted the decision of the commission to allocate revenues accruing from the disputed Soku oil wells to Rivers, even as the case is yet to be finally determined.
He said the funds ought to be placed in an escrow account pending the final determination of the disputed case.
“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,” he said.
“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.
“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.”
Speaking at the event, Konbowei Benson, secretary to the state government, said the commission needs to review extant revenue sharing formula, saying the current method is outdated.
Benson, represented by Anthony Ikhobo, the permanent secretary, general services, asked the participants to come up with a more equitable distribution formula for accrued revenues from the federation account.
In his remarks, Alfred Egba, the RMAFC team leader at the occasion, said the commission will consider the recommendations of the various stakeholders.
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