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6 Jun 2018

No New Revenue Formula, No New Minimum Wages, Says RMAFC

Staff of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission ( RMAFC ), have warned that the proposed new minimum wage may not materialize if the revenue formula is not addressed first.
In the early hours of Wednesday in Abuja staff of the RMAFC picketed the commission over poor funding and remuneration. According to the Chairman of the Nigerian Civil Service Union ( NCSU ), unit of RMAFC, Comrade Josiah Amanabo, who addressed journalists in Abuja said “there is a clamour from states to review the revenue formula.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, wants to hide under the guise that the revenue allocation formula is not ready, to delay the new minimum wage. “If there is no revenue allocation formula, there cannot be new minimum wage in September. RMAFC is the commission to carry out the revenue formula review. We don’t even have the funds to do this assignment.

“Nigerians might be thinking that the commission is not competent to carry out these functions, not knowing that it is a result of paucity of funds. “This is an urgent call to the President; if truly his government wants the commission to carry out its function within a short period of time, then, the provision of adequate funding is imperative.”

“The RMAFC is not an appendage to the ministry of finance, but an independent and autonomous body; for that singular reason, it is expected of us to do our job. We have chartered accountants and other professionals from every field of endeavour in this institution, why giving our job to consultants to do? According to him, “we are being frustrated in the dispensing of our jobs due to poor funding and sometimes no funding at all.”

The protest and total shut down of the commission he said is a cry for the nation to see that the change mantra of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration comes to fruition and that corruption is nipped in the bud. According to him, “consultancy has taken away our jobs. Also, the board has not been constituted. The union complained about how dilapidated its building is due to paucity of funds to carry out maintenance.”

He lamented that the Ministry of Finance, was starving the institution of necessary funding, and has indirectly taken over the statutory responsibility of the institution, which is to monitor the accruals to and disbursement of revenue from the federation and to review from time to time the revenue formulae and principles in operation to ensure conformity with changing realities. According to him, “how can you monitor people who are more than you financially?; poor funding is at the heart of our cry.

How can you monitor agencies such as DPR, FIRS, Customs, NNPC etc., who enjoy percentages and cost of collection every month of release? What we want is cost of monitoring. How can I dress in a tattered way to monitor people whose suits are finer? I need a dress code to do my job,” he said.

Also, the chairman of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria ( ASCSN ), unit of RMAFC, Mr. Martins Adeoye said: “Every revenue that goes into the federation account for distribution is shared by the three tiers of government. “However, it is only the federal government that is funding the commission through its budgetary provision. How about funding from states and local governments? They are also beneficiaries of the federation accounts.

 “We believe that they (states and LGs) should also assist the federal government in funding the commission. In so doing, we will have enough funds to carry out our operations.” He also explained that the lacuna in funding is what the workers unions aim to address by picketing and protesting.

 Commenting on the cry of the staff to get substantive Chairman and Secretary of the commission, Mr. Martins said: “for our operations here, every state of the federation including the FCT is being represented by a commissioner and a chairman.
There ideally should be 37 commissioners and a chairman. Over the last two years, the number of commissioners have dropped from 37 to about six (6) as we speak. How do you expect six commissioners to carry out the functions and activities of 37 states?”

 “The commission has an acting chairman after the tenure of the former chairman elapsed in 2015. We need a substantive chairman to take charge of the activities of the commission. We also want more commissioners to be appointed in the board,” he said.

Also, Dr Rosetta Adiotomre, secretary ASCSN, said: “we are also calling on the state governors to expedite action to fund us because the ministry of finance is starving us of funds. We do not only work for the FG, but also for states and LGs. “We need the states to wake up to their responsibilities and fund the commission.”

 The overall demonstration and protest by the staff of RMAFC was peaceful; even the police unit deployed to the premises acceded to the fact that it was a peaceful demonstration. The workers and its union representatives later matched to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to table its demands in a document.

 The workers, in the document to the SGF declared their intents and implored the SGF to address issues of poor funding, constitution of the Board of the commission, filling of the vacant office of the Chairman and Secretary to the commission, appointment of more commissioners amongst others.

 The letter was signed by the Chairmen of the Nigerian Civil Service Union (NCSU) and Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) – Comrade Josiah Amanabo and Comrade Martins Adeoye respectively. The protest which is slated for two days (today and tomorrow) maybe called off once their demands are met.

 When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the RMAFC, Mr. Ibrahim Muhammed, in responding to the protest in the commission said he had “no comment” to make regarding the protest and demands of the staff of the RMAFC.

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