Senate declares revenue allocation formula unconstitutional, seeks review


• Separates NFIU from EFCC
• Okays $1.8b borrowing plan for FG, states $750m

The Senate says there is no extant act of the National Assembly accepting the present revenue allocation formula in use in the country and therefore declared it unconstitutional.

The upper legislative chamber said the existing formula was blind to the present and changing economic realities and alleged that it was unjustifiably skewed in favour of the Federal Government.

It also directed the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), to review the formula to reflect the current economic realities in the country because it has been in operation before the beginning of this democratic dispensation in 1999.

Besides, it also urged the Federal Government to forward to the National Assembly the proposed revenue collection formula for deliberation and passage into law.

These resolutions were reached yesterday at plenary following adopted motion sponsored by Senator Muhammad Adamu Aliero, representing Kebbi central senatorial district.

Aliero in his lead debate noted that RMAFC was established to periodically review the revenue allocation formula and principles in operation to ensure conformity with changing realities.

The lawmaker regretted that the formula has existed beyond five years, which is contrary to the contemplation of the constitution that provided for it to be reviewed every five years.

The Senate yesterday also passed a new law separating the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In compliance with the condition set by the Egmont Group, which placed Nigeria under suspension for not granting the NFIU the required independence, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency (NFIA) has now been created and given a life of its own.

The first reading of the bill was done last Thursday and was given an accelerated hearing to get to its final stage.

As passed, the bill made the NFIU currently domiciled with EFCC, an autonomous and independent financial and intelligence agency in accordance with global best practices.

The bill proposed that the agency would now be domiciled within the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), even as the newly created establishment will report to the National Assembly in rendering accounts.

The Senate also okayed the $1.806 billion Federal Government 2016-2018 external borrowing (rolling) plan for the Lagos – Kano railway modernization project, and the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the North East.

The railway project, which includes the Lagos-Ibadan segment double track is to be funded by China Export-Import Bank with the sum of $1.231 billion, while the Northeast rehabilitation is to be funded by the World Bank in the sum of $575 million.

The Senate also approved the $750 million medium term external loan requests for six states, out of the request of $1.49billion for 10 states.

The states whose loan requests were approved are Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, Kano, Ondo and Plateau.

The approvals followed the adoption of the reports of its Committee on Local and Foreign Debts chaired by Senator Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central).

In another development, the Senate has resolved to probe the recent harassment of Bakassi indigenes in Cameroon, which allegedly led to the attack and killing of 97 Nigerians over failure to pay a discriminatory boat levy of N100, 000.

It also urged the Cameroonian government to comply with the terms of the GreenTree agreement entered with Nigeria on the ceding of the Bakassi Peninsula.

And it has also directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to urgently submit the GreenTree Agreement as entered into by Nigeria and Cameroon on June 12, 2006 for ratification. Besides, it has called on the executive arm of government to come up with a clear policy on the protection of indigenes of Bakassi in the Diaspora, including those residing in Cameroon.

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