Professor of Economics at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Emmanuel Onwioduokit, in this interview with INEMESIT AKPAN-NSOH in Uyo, said that the Federal Government was breaching the Constitution in the payment of the 13 per cent derivation fund to benefitting states. He also urged Niger Deltans to put their elected representatives on their toes and demand accountability.
Akwa Ibom State is seen as the highest earner of the 13 per cent derivation fund. How has this translated to better life or otherwise for its citizens?
I will like to rephrase and put on record that the Constitution says at least 13 per cent and supposedly 13 per cent should be 13 per cent of gross, not all the deductions. So, effectively, my recent studies indicate that in the last 10 years, oil-producing states, the highest they’ve had has been equivalent of 9.6 per cent. So, the 13 per cent has not been paid as the Constitution envisaged.
Then the issue of whether the 13 per cent has transformed the lives of the citizens, you know 13 per cent does not come separately; it is factored into the budget of the state so it is spent across the state. The 13 per cent derivation is not tailor-made for only the oil-producing areas of the state, but it is captured in the state-wide budget used for the development of the entire state. To that extent, the whole state has benefited. If you look at the FAC allocation, most times, Akwa Ibom State has more revenue from derivation than the normal allocation to individual states.