HURIWA applauds Buhari; NASS on Revenue Mobilization’s Board/NFIU:

EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO'S COLUMN GENERAL NEWS

*tasks Revenue board on anti-revenue leakage’s template:

A leading pro-democracy and Non-Governmental platform – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has applauded both President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly over the composition and confirmation of the governing board of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and fiscal commission (RMAFC).

HURIWA has also tasked the Engineer Elias Mbam-led board of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission to work out an efficient and effective template to check the high volumes of leakages of revenues in Nigeria which according to the Rights group accounts for the phenomenal rates of poverty in Nigeria.  

HURIWA praised the senator Bukola Saraki –  led Senate of Nigeria for fasttracking the confirmation of the newly reconstituted board of the mobilization commission which the Rights group said was long overdue since over a year that the last governing board was dissolved and an acting chairman appointed. HURIWA has also asked the board to avail both the civil society community and the legislature the necessary information in line with the extant freedom of information Act of the Federation in a bid to promote greater transparency and accountability by all the revenue making agencies of the Nigerian government. 

“We commend the executive and the legislative arms of government for rising to the occasion by not playing partisan and divisive politics that would have delayed the confirmation process which in any event was rigorous, comprehensive and thorough. We believe that putting in place such a robust body to lead the Revenue mobilization Allocation and fiscal commission at this material point in time is the right thing to do because of the strategic statutory responsibilities of such a constitutionally independent body in effectively checking all revenues leakages and implementing safeguards and water-tight measures to ensure that the costs of governance are reduced to the barest minimum just as the board is expected to work out ways and means of baking a bigger national cake”. Nigeria it says must be concerned about how to bake bigger and more sustainable national cake by diversifying the nation’s revenue making sources and boosting our national economy”. 

HURIWA said the chairman of the Revenue Commission who was a Finance Minister is such a top quality technocrat who the organized civil society community has observed over the past decade to be one of the few committed statesmen and patriots. Engineer Elias Mbam is a Nigerian of inestimable quality who would definitely take the commission to the next best level. “we are happy that on Wednesday May 8th 2019, the senate gave an unqualified consent to the confirmation of the newly reconstituted board of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and fiscal commission made up of Engineer Mbam as chairman and commissioners from the states of the federation.

HURIWA recalled that in February, President Muhammadu Buhari’s office announced the appointments of new chairperson and commissioners for the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).

RMAFC was established by Decree No.49 of 1989 (now an Act of National Assembly) to handle revenue allocation and fiscal matters on a continuous basis.

However, Decree No.49 of 1989 was later amended by Decree No.99 of 1993 (now RMAFC Act Cap R7 LFN 2004). The Commission was thus re-named Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under Section 153(1) as one of the Fourteen (14) Federal Executive Bodies.

The Federation Account is a common pool from which revenues generated into it are then shared among the three tiers of Government.

The Commission therefore, has the statutory mandate to monitor all accruals into and disbursement of revenue from the Federation Account.

The agencies that collect and remit revenue into the Account include: Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), etc. This is to ensure that all revenues accruable into the Federation Account are collected, properly accounted for and paid into this Account.

Similarly, HURIWA in a statement to the media by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and National Media Affairs Director Miss. Zainab Yusuf has tasked the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to ensure that the recent guidelines stopping governors from stealing allocations meant for local government councils is not a mere media propaganda.

HURIWA said NFIU must roll out practical measures to enlist the partnership of credible civil society groups so as to empower them through capacity building and to constantly make information of flow of allocations to local councils known so these groups monitor how local council funds are utilized. “it is our fervent prayers and wishes that the recently circulated guidelines by NFIU for banks is not meant to hood wink Nigerians to believe that steps are adopted to check the widespread public sector’s corruption, but insisted that this time around Nigerians must not be deceived.”

HURIWA recalled that Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) had issued guidelines to stimulate the reduction of crime vulnerabilities created by cash withdrawals from local government funds across the country.

Acting Chief Media Analyst of NFIU, Ahmed Dikko, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Monday. He announced that the effective date for operation of the guidelines was June 1.

He urged all financial institutions, relevant stakeholders, public servants and citizens to ensure full compliance with the provisions of the guidelines which had already been submitted to the institutions.

“The guidelines include full enforcement of corresponding sanctions against violations,” he stated.

Mr. Dikko said that cash withdrawal and transactions from State Joint Local Government Accounts (SJLGA) “posed (the) biggest corruption, money laundering and security threats at the grassroots and to (the) entire financial system and the country.

He said, “with this analysis, the unit decided to uphold the full provisions of Section 162 (6) and (8) of the 1999 Constitution.

“State Joint Local Government Account shall be paid in, allocations to the local government councils of the state from the Federation Account and from the government of the state.

“The amount standing to the credit of local government councils of a state shall be distributed among the local government councils of that state and not for the other purposes.

“As far as the NFIU is concerned, the responsibility of the account as a collection account is fully reinstated.”

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