By Hassan Haruna Ginsau
The co chairman of the committee on devolution of power, Ibrahim Coomasie has said that the committee has still not made a decision on the issue of derivation, as himself and his co-chair, Obong Victor Attah had not yet spoken on the matter, noting that they will continue, wind up and start writing their reports on Monday.
Speaking on whether the committee’s decision would sway in favour of either the downward or upward review of derivation, Coomasie said that depended on the consensus the committee would reach. “Everything else depends on consensus, there are some who thinks this way, and there are others who think the other way, so it’s up to us to work towards reaching a consensus in the interest of this country so that we can move forward.”
Meanwhile, the committee on Monday came up with a new revenue sharing formula which will see the Federal government get fewer funds, increasing the share of the local governments.
Currently, The Federal Government gets 52.68% of revenue, the states get 26.72%, while the local governments get 20.60%.
In the new formula, the committee proposes the Federal Government should get 42.5% of revenue, the states should get 35.0%, while the local government increases to 22.5%.
Speaking to newsmen after yet another closed door session, co chairman of the committee, Obong Victor Attah said the proposal was not just a consensual agreement, but a unanimous one by the entire committee.
Said Attah: “Committee members acknowledge and accept that the existing constitution of Nigeria should form our point of departure. Anything we want to disagree on, at least that should be the basis. And since the constitution says that all minerals on, under, in, upon any part of Nigeria belongs to the Federal Government, if we accept that, then where do we go from there?
He went on to say the committee had decided therefore that they should concentrate more on the issue of derivation rather than resource ownership by the areas where the minerals are found. In saying this, he defended those who didn’t agree, saying that there were some strong voices that came to the conference with the mandate to insist on 100% resource control, which meant that the states should own, but it was pointed that that would occur only if that section of the constitution is amended, “otherwise you have to regret the fact that for them, what they came with, they will not be able to attain.”
Also speaking on the new formula, Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu said the reason for reducing the revenue received by the Federal Government and increasing those received by the state governments is to aid them (state governments) in carrying out their own projects, payment of salaries, and job creation for unemployed youths.
Said Dalhatu: “We agreed that Nigeria must turn a new page, for the privileged and less privileged to sit down and see how we can move forward. Therefore, the entire committee agreed that states that don’t produce oil but have mineral resources, to be given a large sum of money towards the exploration and mining of these minerals, minerals that for 50 years now subsequent governments have neglected. This is in order for wealth to be equally distributed, and to put a stop to the view that some parts are wealthy and others are not.”