Politics of Revenue Allocation in Nigeria: Paths Not Taken, Issues Not Resolved by the National Political Reform Conference (Nprc)

Chibueze C. Ikeji, Utulu Paul Benedict, Edem Ebong, Theophilus Oyime Adejumo


Unquestionably one of the most controversial issues in Nigeria’s political history – Revenue Allocation/Fiscal Federalism – saga expectedly reared its unyielding head in the National Political Reform Conference (NPRC) held at Abuja (nation’s capital city) between February and June 2006. Memoranda on Revenue Allocation and Fiscal Federalism came under the NPRC’s working platform called “Reforms of the structure of Government and Governance”. Among major contentious issues contained in the Terms of Reference (TOR) adopted by the NPRC’s Committee on Revenue Allocation and Fiscal Federalism (and debated by NPRC) are: the separation of Office of Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) from Office of Accountant-General of Federal Government (AGFG); illegal withholding of accruals by some agencies of the Federal Government; inventing generally acceptable Revenue Allocation Principles and Formula; Joint State/Local Government Account; and the establishing of Independent Mechanism for Period Review of matters relating to Revenue Allocation. How far were these and other concomitant issues addressed by the NPRC? To what extent was the path of consensual  (in contrast to antagonistic) politics explored in dealing with these issues? To what extent were the recurrent controversies surrounding Revenue Allocation in Nigeria resolved? How far did NPRC go in dealing with the deep-rooted contradictions associated with Nigeria’s peculiar answers to these questions was the main task of this paper. In the face of evidence before us, the paper argues that, by not taking some critical paths, in dealing with the question of Revenue Allocation in Nigeria, the NPRC culpably left many important issues unresolved. Thus, the cause of advancing the nation has not been served as far as the politics of Revenue Allocation is concerned.

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