The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum has advised revenue generating agencies in the country, to be more transparent in their operations as well as in their contributions to the federation account.
The forum said this in a communiqué at the end of its meeting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, read by its Chairman and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto Stateon Monday.
Tambuwal faulted the decision of the NNPC not to make its statutory contributions to the federation account, “thereby starving the states and local governments and Nigerians of funds needed for employment, development and general wellbeing.”
He said that under the 1999 constitution, the NNPC was duty bound to make proceeds of sale or business of petroleum available to the federation account which belonged to the three tiers of government, excluding reasonable and verified and verifiable cost of operations.
“The Federal Government through the NNPC is a manager of our oil wealth merely as a trustee for all Nigerians.
“The meeting frowned at a situation where the NNPC decides in a totally discretionary and often whimsical manner, how much to spend, how to spend it and how much to remit to the Federation Account, contrary to the letters and even the spirit of the 1999 Constitution.
“The meeting called on other agencies of government such as Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Federal Inland Revenue Services, Customs and Excise and similar organisations that are statutorily required to make contributions into the federation account, to do more.
“The federating sates should, going forward now have a say in the determination of operating costs to ensure transparency and accountability.
“The meeting called for urgent steps to reverse these ugly trends in our practice of democracy, constitutionalism and federalism,” Tambuwal said.
The governors also called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to take immediate steps towards halting the depreciation of naira.
They expressed concerns on the operational system and methods of the CBN, adding that the apex bank was operating as an independent government, which was a pervasion of its autonomy.
“A situation where CBN creates money, decides how much of it to spend, on what to spend it on without any form of controls or supervision is patently subversive of our constitutional order,” he said.
Tambuwal said that the apex bank had dabbled into every sphere and scope of government activity, not just as a lender of last resort, but as a full executing agency of government.
He also expressed concern over the rising debt profile of Nigeria with over 80 per cent of normal appropriation spent on debt servicing.
Tambuwal said money should only be borrowed for productive purposes as Nigeria’s current debt of over N36 trillion was becoming clearly unsustainable relative to Nigeria earnings and Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
He advised that incoming generations should not be saddled with undue debt burden and that Nigeria should not be led into avoidable bankruptcy.
Tambuwal reiterated the forum’s call on the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission to send the revised revenue allocation formular to President Muhammadu Buhari for onward transmission to the National Assembly for enactment.
He said this was key to ensure more resources to be made available to states and local governments where ordinary Nigerians resided.
“The present constitutional amendment process should make the commission more independent and accountable to all stakeholders,” he said.
Tambuwal expressed support for the implementation of judicial and legislative autonomy at the federation and states levels in conformity with the extant provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
He extolled the achievements of Gov. Emmanuel Udom of of Akwa Ibom, noting that he has brought prudence, innovation and competence to the management of state resources, with major landmark projects and interventions.
Governors at the meeting included those of Akwa-lbom, Abia, Bayelsa, Benue, Delta, Enugu, Rivers, Oyo, Adamawa, Edo, Bauchi, Taraba as well as deputy governor of Zamfara.