SOUTH SOUTH ZONAL STATES SUPPORT CREATION OF SPECIAL REVENUE STATUS FOR CROSS RIVER

The six States of the South/South zone took a decisive step well ahead of the  Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission’s zonal hearings across the nation, to present a joint-communique that addressed the critical situation of the review of revenue allocation formula and principles from time to time, to conform to changing realities. The focus of the hearings as provided by the Commission, was on vertical allocation which focuses on the revenue sharing formula strictly between the three tiers of the Executive, namely, Federal, State, & Local Government authorities. The current formula allocates approximately 52.68% of revenues to the Federal Government, 26. 72% to the States, and 20.60% to Local Government councils.

Ahead of the presentation of the joint resolution, Cross River State Governor, Sir Ben Ayade established a committee to elucidate the position of Cross River State, with a proposition to the other zonal States for the inclusion of a special status for the State. The crux for the demand of this special status for the State is the ceding of its oil wells to Cameroun, a decision that was made without the input or consent of the citizens of the State. This mandate for negotiating and lobbying for the position of Cross River State among the States of was anchored by the State’s Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyong Jr. who, after series of engagements and lobbying received a node from the other five States of the South/South zone to support the Cross River’s position.

At the actual hearing, the States presented a review of the vertical allocation formula to 35% for the Federal Government, 42% to the States, and 23% to the Local Government Councils, as well as, the creation of a special status for Cross River State with the establishment of 1.5% of the Federation Account allocated to Cross River monthly. Speaking on the proposed special status, Ekpenyong Jr. stated that “The implementation of a special status of 1.5% funding from the Federation accounts for Cross River State is hardly enough, but will be the commencement on the long road to adequately compensate the good people of Cross River State for the injustice meted out by previous administrations in the ceding of Bakassi”.

He noted sadly that, the loss of littoral status and consequent loss of 13% derivation earning status was an insult on an injury that should have been resisted vehemently by previous administrations, assuring however, that that the present administration is resolute in its determination to ensure that justice is not just done but seen to be manifestly done as far as this issue is concerned.”