By Bassey Udo
To boost the country’s productivity and growth, Nigerians must move away from the current revenue sharing formula and focus on a formula that ensures the country’s resources were shared on the basis of productivity, one of the Presidential aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi, has said.
Obi, a one-time governor of Anambra State, who was addressing delegates of the PDP ahead of the forthcoming party’s presidential primary on May 28 and May 29, said if voted into office as president, he would ensure the current revenue sharing formula for the monthly revenue allocation to the federating units in the country were replaced with production formula.
Obi explained that the production formula would be based on the level of productivity each component unit contributes to the Federation.
The PDP aspirant said it was important for everybody to be productive if the nation must survive, adding that other nations in the world were busy producing, while Nigeria was busy sharing and consuming.
He said it was not a time to dance and celebrate as a nation, but a time to work and fix the nation badly battered because of the country’s penchant to celebrate the wrong things.
“Nigeria is a nation of over 200 million people, with about 100 million living in poverty, over 18 million out of school children, out of which about 10 million are girls.
“We have a 35 percent unemployment rate, and if we add under-employment, it will rise to over 50 percent, many of which are youths in their productive age. So, we cannot be celebrating,” he said.
On the debate about the country’s penchant for borrowing, Obi, an economist, said there was nothing wrong with borrowing as a nation, as the largest economies in the world were also in debt.
However, the problem with the borrowing by Nigeria was that it was borrowing for consumption, not to promote production.
“The consequence of borrowing for consumption today is that Nigeria is spending over 90 percent of its revenue to service debts without much production to show for it.
“Exporting crude oil has not saved Venezuela or any country. We need to invest in our massive land mass and grow our economy like other nations such as Singapore, Vietnam and even Morocco have done with tourism,” he maintained.
He appealed to the party delegates to place less emphasis on sharing money at the end of every month, as many politicians would come to share money, but when it was time to vote they should consider the future of their children.
Speaking on behalf of the delegates, the Chairman of PDP in Cross River State, Venatius Ikem, said although things have gone really bad for the nation at the moment, we could start repairing for the future, by voting right.
Ikem said Obi was the kind of President Nigeria needed at this time, because after listening to him every right thinking person should have a sober reflection on the way forward for Nigeria.
He expressed the belief that if Obi becomes Nigeria’s president come 2023, Nigeria would have a turnaround.
However, he said he did not expect Nigerians to just have a wish, but to express their wishes through their support for Peter Obi at the polls come 2023,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) says it was partnering with the relevant interest groups and organizations to review the emoluments of public officers in the country.
Secretary to RMAFC, Mohammed Shehu, was reacting to questions on the forthcoming review of salaries and emoluments of relevant government officials.
He said some of the institutions the Commission would partner with was the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
He said the Commission was already reviewing the curren tsalaries and emoluments of political office holders and judicial officers in the country.
“While it is the statutory responsibility of RMAFC to carry out such reviews, the Commission would equally partner with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for proper funding of the exercise.
This, he said, would happen after the Commission had written to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, to request for funds to prosecute such assignment.
The RMAFC Secretary said although the OSGF was of utmost importance to the Commission in the area of stakeholders’ engagement, the request for funds for the review would be channeled through the Minister of Finance.
He said the RMAFC enjoyed cooperation and support of the SGF, Boss Mustapha, in the execution of its mandates, citing the example of the recent review of the current “vertical Revenue Allocation Formula” submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for further action.
“Such is an example of strong collaboration between the two government agencies,” he said.