By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday swore in the Chairman and 30 Commissioners of Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and charged them to be fair and just to all tiers of government.
The president gave the charge while swearing-in the members of the Commission at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, and urged them not to compromise the commission’s constitutional mandate for whatever reasons.
President Buhari also enjoined the Commission to work hard toward meeting Federal Government’s target of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
He said: “The mandate of the Commission is very wide and is important for our country’s economy. The Commission must be fair and just to the three tiers and arms of government without compromising its core mandate.
“In my speech on June 12 Democracy Day, I informed Nigerians that this administration has laid the foundation for transforming our country and liberating our people from the shackles of poverty by putting policies and measures to integrate our rural economies to the national economic grid.
“Our measure is to extend credit facilities currently available, to be able to encourage and support domestic production of basic goods and reduce our reliance on imported goods.
“I set a target for our country to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. This commitment is to further challenge the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission to rise to its constitutional responsibilities and mandate,” he said.
The president also charged the members of the Commission to concentrate more on expanding the other sources of revenue like non-oil sources including solid minerals.
He urged them to use all legal ways and means to strengthen the commission’s monitoring mechanism and block leakages of revenue from the federation account.
He said that they should also ensure that all relevant laws and regulations on revenue collections and remittances were fully complied with and appropriate sanctions visited on defaulters
The president reminded the members that they were chosen based on their integrity and proven track records, and as such much is expected from them.
“Your appointment as Chairman and members of the Commission was carefully considered based on your proven track records of hard work and integrity.
“It is therefore the expectation of government that you will rapidly and systematically set to work to address all areas of your mandate in a businesslike manner.
President Buhari assured the Commission that government would continue to provide all the necessary support that will facilitate its work.
He also called on the National Assembly to put in place “relevant enabling laws that shall guarantee the commission the legal ability to ensure that defaulters of revenue laws are appropriately sanctioned’’.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Elias Mbam form Ebonyi was sworn-in as Chairman of the Commission alongside 29 others as Federal Commissioners representing various States.
Mbam, who spoke to State House correspondents at the end of the swearing-in, pledged that the commission would look into the current revenue allocation formula with a view to effecting changes if necessary.
The RMAFC was established by law to monitor the accruals into and disbursement of revenue from the Federation Account, and to review from time to time, the revenue allocation formula and principles in operation to ensure conformity with changing realities.
The commission is also expected to advise the Federal, State and Local governments on fiscal efficiency and methods by which their revenue is to be increased, among others.(NAN)