Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma has advocated for the creation of Special Fund to compensate the South East for the losses the people suffered during the Nigerian Civil War with the attendant consequences today.
The Governor solicited the above while flagging-off the Zonal Public Hearing on the Review of the Current Revenue Allocation Formula for the South East States organised by the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission in Owerri, Imo State.
The Governor said the essence of the demand is predicated on the fact that the Civil War resulted in loss of millions of lives with women and children losing their bread winners, and that if for the reasons of Boko Haram there is the North East Development Commission and for the sake of oil there is Niger Delta Development Commission then there is every reason to create a special fund and or South East Development Commission to bring succour to the people of the region who were devastated during the war.
While commending the bold steps by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission towards Review of the current Revenue Allocation Formula that is long over due for review, the Governor requested the Commission to look at the Oil Well matter between Imo State and Rivers State and help to resolve the matter for the sake of justice.
The Governor explained that Imo State has the highest Gas deposits in Nigeria, yet revenue from these deposits and production does not accrue to Imo State per se.
The Governor said consequently Imo State has suffered great injustice on Revenue Sharing and demanded for justice and fair play as the yard stick for equity.
“The injustice has snowballed into gross underdevelopment of the Oil and Gas Producing areas. This has resulted to youth restiveness, insecurity and other vices.”
He said the oil companies are more interested in removing the oil and Gas in their area of operation without making commensurate effort to reinvest the proceeds into the producing areas like what happens in Imo State.
To ameliorate the above, the Governor requested for the Oil and Gas Companies to develop a process that will result in creating a value chain.
“This is necessary because Imo needs petrochemical industries, fertilizer plants and other Oil and Gas establishments to improve on her economy, create jobs and stem the tide of insecurity.”
In all, the Governor emphasized that oil politics is in no way favourable to the State.
Again, the Governor used the occasion to make case for RAMFAC, advising that that the body be given more powers to introduce checks and balances on the activities of National Revenue Bodies such as Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Liquefied and Natural Gas Company (NLNG), Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Customs and others, to ensure that all states, especially Imo State, get their appropriate royalties and compensations.
Governor Uzodimma assured RMFAC of support to enable the body achieve more as a committed organisation either through Legislation or Executive council presentations.
In his address at the occasion, the Chairman Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC), Engr. Elias Mbam thanked the participants for turning up for the Public Hearing, especially the Governor of Imo State, for honouring the invitation.
Mbam informed that the powers to review Revenue Allocation Formula from time to time are derived from Part1 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Amended.
He explained that the review is to ensure conformity with changing realities, “provided that any revenue formula which had been accepted by an Act of the National Assembly shall remain enforce for a period of not less than five years from the date of commencement of the Act.”
Pursuant to the above the Chairman informed that “there have been several socia-economic and political changes since the last review of the Revenue Allocation Formula in 1992.
“These changes amongst other considerations, informed the Commission to commence the review of the formula to reflect changing realities.”
To achieve the above, the Chairman appealed to all Stakeholders, especially the different sectors of the society that were invited, to effectively participate in the public hearing and assured that “the Commission shall take serious consideration to all views and recommendations that will emanate from the public hearing.”
In her welcome address, the Chairman of Imo State Committee on Revenue Allocation Review who is also the Hon. Commissioner for Finance and Coordinating Economy Imo State, Dr. (Mrs.) Doris Uzoka-Anite expressed gratitude to all that honoured the invitation and reminded the participants that the public hearing is meant to articulate the stand of Imo State and other South East States for inclusion in the RMFAC demand for overall Allocation Formula Review.