– The PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has spoken on the possibility of giving Niger-Delta an absolute control of oil revenues
– Atiku said he doesn’t mind given 100% revenues to the oil-rich region, adding that he would tax the region to maintain the federal government
– He, however, said such a move is not advisable at this stage of Nigeria’s development
Nigeria’s former vice president and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has said he is willing to let Nigeria’s oil-producing states have 100% control of crude oil revenues from their domains.
He, however, added that he is reluctant to immediately implement such policies at this stage of Nigeria’s development.
The PDP presidential candidate told The Africa Report in an interview published Wednesday, November 14, that federating units once had considerable control of their resources, unlike the current federal laws that only allow 13% derivation for states in the Niger-Delta, where Nigeria’s crude oil is extracted.
Atiku admitted that appropriate sharing formula might be difficult to say at this point but recommended a limited role for the federal government in appropriating crude revenues.
Nigerian states “can get more because in the First Republic the regions had 50/50,” Atiku said.
“I don’t mind giving even 100% […], but I would tax those states to maintain the federal government.”
He, however, recognised this is “not advisable at this stage of our development.”
“Even during the First Republic, there was this derivation sharing between revenues and resources, or between the regions and the federal government. So I think we could have a middle course. It would be unfair to ask me for specifics; that will depend on negotiations,” he added.
Atiku is a vocal advocate of restructuring, agitating for more powers for states at the expense of the central government.
He believes Nigeria’s subsisting constitution, which recommends a federal system but implements a unitary one, should be urgently reviewed and replaced with a sovereign document that would engender a more peaceful and economically viable nation.
Oil revenues still account for over 80% of the Nigerian government’s revenues as of 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, despite efforts towards economic diversification.
In the face of a floundering agriculture and services sector, reducing the federal government’s share of oil revenues to only taxes paid by about nine oil-producing states could be difficult to achieve soon, Premium Times notes.
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Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that Atiku said his commitment was to fix the ailing Nigerian economy.
Abubarka said this on Wednesday, November 14, during a meeting with Igbo leaders in Enugu. He said that he was worried about developments in the country as well as the future of the country and the legacies that would be left for generations unborn.
“My commitment is to fix this country. I think of the future this country will have, if I do not struggle to fix it. “Our economy must be fixed and you can trust me and Mr Peter Obi to do it,” he said.
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