South-South governors, region demand 50% oil derivation, special status for Cross River

Six State governors in the South-South region, have demanded for the upward review of oil derivation formula from the present 13 percent to 50 percent.

They have also demanded that Cross River State should be accorded a special status, following the ceding of Bakassi Peninsula and several oil wells to Cameroon to by the Federal Government, without any consultation with the people of the state.

The above-mentioned issues  were among several demands  the resolution of the governors, local government chairmen and people of the region made at the two-day public hearing on revenue allocation formula review, organised by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Delta State Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Fidelis Ekenwo, who read the position of the South-South geopolitical zone, said the governors rather than balkanised their presentations, decided to put together one resounding voice, to address the situation as it concerns the zone.

Ekenwo said allocation to the states should increase to the basis of 42 percent to states, 35 and 23 to the Federal Government and local governments respectively.

He added that allocating more money to the federal promotes wastes and inefficiency at the federal level.

They stated: “The people of South-South want the 13 percent derivation to be moved up immediately. We are recommending that the new derivation should be 50 percent.  We are clearly unhappy because we believe that the current 13 percent is not doing anything for us.

“Every state should take charge of their resources and contribute an agreed percentage to the centre for the services of the Federal Government.

“Secondly, a review of the legislative list and transfer some responsibilities to the states, such as agriculture, housing, water resources, transport, road construction. These items do not have any business with the federal government, because the states and local governments are more closer to the people.

“In the last  25 years, has there been any federal housing estate project in the zone? Yet, money is budgeted yearly to the Federal Ministry of Housing.

“All funds generated by revenue generating MDAs should be added to RMAFC for onward distribution to the states and local governments, who are also co-owners of these MDAs.

“Oil companies should relocate their headofffices and operational base to areas of their operation.

“In the South-South, any state that suffers any negative impact also affects other states. We are asking that there should be a special status for Cross River State.

“The country is clearly aware that thr Bakassi Peninsula and several oil wells in Cross River State was ceded away to Cameroon by the federal government of Nigeria, following the implementation of the Green Tree Agreement.

“This action was carried out unilaterally by the federal government without any consensus by the people of Cross River. Hence, a special status should be accorded the state and a special fund pf 1.5 percent of the federation account should be given to them.

“Finally, we are demanding that the revenue sharing formula should be increased to 42 percent to state, 35 to federal government and 23 to Local Governments.”

At the closing of the public hearing, six Commissioners for Finance in the zone, representatives of their various state governors,  local government chairmen, civil society groups and stakeholders from the six states of the zone, were present.

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