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General News of Thursday, 14 October 2021


FG should compensate South East for civil war losses – Uzodimma

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, has called for the establishment of special fund to compensate the South-East as a result of the devastation of the area during the civil war.

He made the call in Owerri, yesterday, while declaring open a zonal public hearing on the review of the current revenue allocation sharing formula, organised by Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) for South-East zone.

“I think the debacles of the civil war led the South-East into a deep poverty level; houses were burnt down, people were killed.

“Only recently, a special law was enacted as the North-East Development Commission arising from the disaster of Boko Haram incidents.

“But the 30-month civil war that ended in 1970 left the South-East in a state of penury.”     

The governor said if created, the special fund would provide succour to those who lost their properties and family members during the civil war.

The governor also said the current revenue allocation formula which was last reviewed in 1992 was obsolete, given the reality of the economy and developments that followed the last review.

Uzodimma, who called for a review of the sharing formula, said the South-East has suffered great injustice on how revenues accruing from the zone are being shared.

“Today, as it stands, the Federal Government takes home 52.68 per cent, state governments, 26.72 per cent, while the 774 local government areas take home 20.60 per cent,” he noted.

He said Imo currently has seven oil producing companies, but expressed concern that 43 oil wells were wrongfully allocated to Rivers.

According to him, 25 per cent of gas production in Bonny is piped from Imo, but revenue accruing from this is not coming to Imo, while pollution is threatening the lives and assets of the residents of the area.

He urged the RMAFC to look into the matter with a view to resolving it.

He urged the Federal Government to also establish petrochemical industries, fertiliser plants and other value chain in the oil and gas industries that would create employment opportunities for youths.

“It should not just be about multi-billion dollar pipe line projects that siphons oil and gas from the state which results to youth restiveness, quantum violence and subsequent deaths.

“I think that God did not make mistake endowing Imo with natural resources,” he said.

The governor also called for laws empowering the Commission to compel high yielding government agencies including FIRS, NPA and Customs to remit funds into the federation account.

He said such power would enable the Commission introduce checks and balances in the country’s revenue earning stream.

“These challenges can be handled administratively and by constitutional amendment,” he noted.

Other state governments within the zone also presented their positions through their respective commissioners of finance.

The Ebonyi Commissioner for Finance, Mr Orlando Nweze, lamented the imbalance in the sharing formula of the country’s revenue.

Nweze said revenue allocation should be reviewed to 40 per cent for the Federal Government, 35 per cent for state governments and 25 per cent for local government areas.

RMAFC Chairman, Elias Mbam, who also spoke , said that several socio-economic and political changes since the last review informed the Commission’s decision for the current review.

He explained that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) empowered it to review the revenue allocation formula and principles in operation to ensure conformity with changing realities.

“To ensure wide coverage of participation, the commission invited memoranda from the stakeholders in both print and electronic media on the review of the revenue allocation formula.

“The commission also undertook sensitisation tours to all the states and local governments of the country, while studies on fiscal matters relating to revenue allocation and collection of data from government agencies were carried out,” he explained.

He assured that the Commission would take serious consideration all views and recommendations that would emanate from the public hearing.

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