Nigerians Favour Decentralisation of Revenue Allocation

Abuja, Nigeria. July 31st, 2013  Latest weekly poll results released by NOI Polls Limited have revealed a very close margin between Nigerians who feel the Federal Government should be allocated the higher percent of revenue and those who feel it should be the States with 34% and 33% respectively. Also, results show that 28% of Nigerians want the higher percentage of revenue allocation to go the Local Governments. This finding shows a majority (61%) of Nigerians (33% + 28%) are in favour of the decentralisation of revenue allocation to the lower tiers of government. Further findings of the poll indicate that a higher percentage of Nigerians (61%) are of the opinion that the Federal Government should be responsible for roads while 43%, 53% and 39% of Nigerians (forming the majority) are of the opinion that the states governments should be responsible for primary education, water/sanitation and primary health care respectively. These form the key findings of the Fiscal Federalism poll conducted in the week of July 22, 2013.
 
The design of Fiscal Federalism in Nigeria remains a contentious issue. Sub-national governments (State and Local Governments) continue to point to an imbalance between their responsibilities to deliver critical public goods and services (such as primary healthcare, primary education, and water & sanitation) and the proportion of revenue they actually receive under the vertical revenue allocation rule which determines how national tax revenues are shared between the 3 levels of government (Federal, State and Local) – as stipulated in the 1999 Constitution. The revenue formula determines how these revenues are shared between the Federal, State and Local Governments. Currently, the Federal Government receives 52.68%, States receive a share of 26.72% and Local Government Areas receive 20.6%.

As part of the on-going Constitutional Review, the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Allocation Committee (RMFAC) recently submitted its report to the National Assembly on potential reforms to the vertical revenue allocation rule. An argument made by the National Assembly is for a fair share of the revenue across all tiers of government. However, the Nigerian State Governors in April 2012 suggested through the Nigerian Governors Forum that states should have a higher share of 42% in the allocation.
 
Based on this background, NOI Polls conducted its latest poll on Fiscal Federalism to gauge the level of awareness of the current revenue sharing formula, establish the opinions of Nigerians about Fiscal Federalism and their perceived responsibility about public goods and services.
 
Respondents to the poll were asked five specific questions. The first question aimed to gauge the level of awareness of Nigerians on the current revenue sharing formula currently used in Nigeria: Are you aware of the current revenue sharing formula between the Federal, State and Local levels of Government in Nigeria? An overall majority of 66% responded negatively indicating they are not knowledgeable about the revenue sharing formula currently being used in the allocation of revenue between the three levels of Government. Comparatively, 34% indicated they are aware of the current revenue sharing formula; even though this is the minority, it is nevertheless an encouraging proportion of Nigerians. Out of the proportion that are aware of the revenue sharing formula, more male respondents (43%) showed awareness than female respondents (26%).
 
Based on analysis by geo-political zone, while the North-Central and South-South zones had the highest proportion of respondents (70% each) that had no knowledge of the current revenue sharing formula, the South-East zone accounted for the highest proportion of respondents (40%) that showed awareness of the revenue sharing formula. 

 

When the level of awareness is further analysed by the professional background of respondents, responses show that government workers/civil servants (45%) showed the highest level of awareness of the revenue sharing formula; this is followed by professional workers such as lawyers, doctors etc. (44%) and unemployed youth/adult with 35%.  Artisans with 20% showed the lowest level of awareness of the revenue sharing formula.

 

Furthermore the age category of respondents with the highest level of awareness of the current revenue sharing formula is 46-60 years with 45%. This is followed by respondents within the age bracket of 30-45 years (38%)and 22-29 years (30%). The age category with the lowest level of awareness is 18-21years with 9%.

 

The second question sought to gauge the level of awareness of Nigerians on the current on-going constitutional review that addresses the revenue allocation formula. Respondents that indicated awareness of the revenue sharing formula in the previous question (i.e. 34% of the total) were asked: Are you aware of the on-going constitutional review that may change the share of revenue received by each level of government? Reaction to this showed that the overall majority of respondents (71%) were aware of the on-going constitutional review, while 29% claimed they are not aware of the on-going constitutional review. 

From the geo-political standpoint, the North-Central and the North-East zones with 80% and 75%respectively, accounted for the highest proportion of respondents that are aware of the on-going constitutional review. Conversely, the South East had the lowest proportion (63%) of respondents that are aware of the review.

 

In order to establish the opinions of Nigerians on the responsibilities of the Federal, State and Local levels of government, all respondents were asked: In your opinion, which level of government (Federal, State or Local) should be most responsible for roads building and providing primary education, water and sanitation and primary healthcare? Results showed varied reactions on the responsibilities of the three level of government with regards to each of these sectors. 

Firstly, regarding the construction of roads, the overall majority (61%) are of the opinion that the Federal government should be responsible for road building in Nigeria, while 27% feel the responsibility of road building in Nigeria should lie with the State level of government, and 12% believe that it is the responsibility of Local government.

Further analysis by geo-political zone shows that the North-East zone had the highest number of respondents(71%) that believe the Federal government should be responsible for construction of roads. Also the South-West zone accounted for the highest proportion of respondents (36%) that indicated States should be responsible and North-West zone had the highest number of respondents (21%) that indicated the local government to be responsible for the construction of roads.

 

Secondly with reference to Primary Education, analysis show that 43% of the respondents indicated the state level of government should be responsible for providing primary education; this is followed by 34% who are of the opinion that the Federal Government should bear the responsibility, while the remaining 23% indicated the Local Government should be responsible. 

Analysis from geo-political zones showed that while the North-East zone had the highest proportion of respondents (44%) who indicated the onus be on the Federal Government, the South-South zone accounted for the highest number respondents (53%) that specified the State government. In addition the North-Centraland the South-West zones had the highest number of respondents (27% each) that believe the Local government should be responsible for primary education.

 

In relation to water and sanitation, analysis showed that the overall majority (53%) are of the opinion that the provision of water and sanitation in Nigeria is the responsibility of the State government, this is followed by 24%who believe the Federal government should take charge of providing water and sanitation, while 23% believe the Local government should take responsibility. 

When the results were analysed according to geo-political zones, the majority of the respondents (66%) that indicated the State government should be responsible for provision of water and sanitation were from theSouth-East zone. Also the North-West zone had the highest proportion (39%) that specified the Federal government and the South-South zone accounted for the highest proportion for respondents (35%) that are of the opinion that the Local government should be responsible for providing water and sanitation in the country.

 

A slight majority of Nigerians (39%) are of the opinion that the State government should be mostly responsible for primary health provision, this if followed by 35% who believe the Federal government should have the responsibility, while the remaining 26% are of the opinion that primary health should be the responsibility of the local government.

Further analysis according to geo-political zones revealed that the South-South zone accounted for the highest number of respondents (51%) who indicated the State government should be responsible for matters relating to primary healthcare provision; the North-East zone had the majority of respondents (57%) who say the Federal Government should be responsible for primary healthcare. Moreover, the highest number of respondents (35%)that indicated that the local government should be responsible for providing primary health in Nigeria come from the North-Central zone.

 

Furthermore in order to gauge the opinions of Nigerians on the ideal revenue split between the three levels of government, respondents were asked: In your opinion, which level of government (Federal, State or Local) should receive the most revenue from the revenue sharing formula?  In reaction to this, a very narrow majority of34% are of the opinion that the Federal government should receive the highest proportion in the revenue sharing formula. This is closely followed by the 33% of respondents that indicated the state government should get the highest share of the revenue. This further supports results from the previous question where the state government was perceived to be the tier of government that should be responsible for providingprimary education, water and sanitation and primary healthcare by the majority.

In addition, 28% are of the opinion that the Local government should get the highest allocation of revenue while just5% say a formula that allows an equal share of the revenue between the Federal, State and Local government is ideal.

From the geo-political zone standpoint, the North-Central (44%) and the South-East (40%) zones had the highest proportion of respondents who believe the Federal Government should receive the highest share. TheSouth-West (39%) and the North-East (34%) zones accounted for the highest proportion of respondents who believe State governments should have the highest share. In addition, the South-South (35%) and theNorth-West (34%) zones had the highest proportion of respondents that are of the opinion that the Local Government should have the highest share of revenue from the revenue allocation formula.

 

Finally respondents were asked why they feel the particular level of government they chose should have the highest allocation of revenue. Those respondents who thought the Federal Government should have the highest share in the revenue sharing formula mainly gave the reasons that “They shoulder more responsibility (56%)and “They are the highest level of government” (100%)

The 57%of respondents that specified that States should receive the most revenue, for the most part, gave reasons such as “They will be able to control and monitor more effectively” and “They will be able to coordinate the lower tier of government”.

Finally, for the 70% of respondents who believe the Local Government should have the highest share of revenue, gave the main reason of, “it would aid development at this level of government” 

 

In conclusion, majority of Nigerians (66%) are not aware of the sharing formula currently employed by the three tiers of government in Nigeria. However, among the 34% that are aware of the formula, the majority (71%) are aware of the on-going constitutional review that is likely to change the status quo. In exploring the perceived responsibilities of the three levels of government, the Federal level of government came top on the chart as the tier of government that should be responsible for road building, while the majority specified that the State government should be responsible for the provision of primary educationwater and good sanitation, as well as primary healthcare. In addition, there was almost a tie in the number of respondents suggesting a higher share of revenue in the sharing formula for the Federal Government (34%) and State governments(33%).

Survey Methods

The opinion poll was conducted on July 22nd to 25th 2013. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,003 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise - within a range of plus or minus 3%. NOI Polls Limited is Nigeria’s leading opinion polling and research organisation, which works in technical partnership with the Gallup Organisation (USA), to conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com

Disclaimer

This press release has been produced by NOI Polls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOI Polls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published.

NOI Polls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOI Polls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOI Polls’ current findings and/or thinking.

 

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