After over five hours closed door meeting, National Conference Committee on Devolution of Power has unanimously agreed to maintain 13 percent derivation principle.
Briefing newsmen at the end of the meeting, Co-chairman of the Committee, Victor Attah said that the committee has exhausted agenda given to the committee by the Conference saying that the issue of derivation principle has been resolved
Attah who commended members of the committee for their maturity on the issue of derivation principle which lasted for two weeks said that the committee unanimous recommended the creation of National Welfare fund that be in the contribution to take care of the future.
The Committee recommended that National Welfare Fund must be enshrined in the constitution so that nobody can challenge it’s that everybody will benefit from the derivation.
Attah said,: “We have concluded deliberations on Exclusive and Concurrent list, fiscal federalism that has components of revenue sharing, resource control and sharing formula.
“Some came to this Committee that dichotomy must be introduced, some insisted that payment on derivation must be reduced, while some want the States to own and operate all resources within their areas and only pay taxes to the government.
“We went through all positions and it was unanimous agreed that the last position was not achievable because it is a constitutional issue and amendment must be made before that can be achieved because as it is now all minerals belong to the Federal government.
“Given that understanding, those people agitating for that drop their position and opted for 50 percent as minimum payment on derivation. This obviously seems like irreconcilable positions.
“Maturity and patriotism of the members came to play at this point as we recognized that there were so many mineral resources left unexplored which is causing discontent.
“We also recognized that the 13 percent given to community with the resource is not enough and some still want government want to reduce it because It was felt that with the 13 percent the people are still impoverished because it was not judiciously applied.
“More than anything, we felt that we must try and maintain the equilibrium that we have in this country today. So that there will be no loser or winners.
“At the end, everyone withdrew their positions and we reached a unanimous decision that a special fund must be set up to enable the country, with the participation of the States to develop the mineral deposits within their areas.
“We recommend that it must be enshrined in the constitution so that nobody can challenge it’s that everybody will benefit from the derivation.
“That final decision was that let status quo remain, and for sake of equilibrium don’t let us go back and re-open old wounds and inflict new ones.
“There were three components to the derivation, to increase the amount of money that accrues to the Federation Account, that every part of this country should benefit from the derivation payment and more importantly there should be employment all across the country.
“With employment through the development of these resources, the restiveness we are experiencing in this country today will go down.
In his comment, the Co-chairman Ibrahim Coomasie said,”We recommended the creation of National Welfare fund that be in the contribution to take care of the future.
“We also recommended the establishment of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federal government as distinct for the accountant General of the Federation
” All the decisions reached are unanimous and the members are happy about it taking into consideration the interest of Nigeria moving forward so that development can be even.”