Outgoing Kaduna Governor, Nasir El-Rufai makes case for movement of Value Added Tax (VAT) to exclusive legislative list, wants onshore mining and petroleum assets to be placed on the concurrent list
I can assure you that I will never retire to the legislature because I don’t think I can function there
Kaduna Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has dismissed speculations that he has any plan to aspire for a Senate seat anytime in the future.
Governor El-Rufai, who is serving out a second term in office, stressed that most people perceive the Red Chamber as a retirement home for most governors, adding that aspiring to secure a seat at the National Assembly means he would have to manage equals and he would lack powers to ‘hire and fire’ as it is done in the executive. He further explains that the legislature is one branch of government he can never function well in because the hard work that goes into convincing people to support sponsored motions is what he has no patience for.
The Kaduna politician stated this on Monday at the Second edition of Distinguished Parliamentarians Lecture organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) in Abuja.
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“You know management in the executive is very straightforward, it is very hierarchical, and once you are governor, your word is almost law. But in the legislature, everybody is equal, and no management is more difficult than managing your equals.
I don’t envy Mr Speaker and the Senate President at all because their job, perhaps, is the hardest in this country. Managing equals is difficult. For the executive, you can hire and fire. I know that many of our colleague governors are retiring to the Senate. But I can assure you that I will never retire to the legislature because I don’t think I can function there,” he noted.
Value Added Tax (VAT)
On the issue of Value Added Tax (VAT), El-Rufai, who was the Chairman on the occasion, charged the Ninth National Assembly to review the legislation guiding the same. He also called on the lawmakers to prioritise state and community policing, local government system reforms, and enact legislation to make education free and compulsory from one to twelve years as against the current nine years.
“…the fact that Value Added Tax is not on the exclusive list is a major source of concern to the fiscal health of the federation.”
“This 9th Assembly has passed the most important and seminal legislations in this fourth republic. Like Oliver Twist, this Assembly in the last six months can do a bit more. I will list a few areas; first is state and community policing. I think we are all clear now that the current policing is not working for Nigeria.
Secondly, Value Added Tax has become a major source of survival of this country because this year, NNPC has not brought a penny to the federal account. We have been relying on taxes (particularly value-added tax), and the fact that Value Added Tax is not on the exclusive list is a major source of concern to the fiscal health of the federation. I think it’s something that this National Assembly can do something about in its last six months,” the governor explained.
Devolution of Powers
There are issues about rebalancing of the federation, like onshore mining and petroleum assets to be placed on the concurrent list. Decentralisation of the judiciary because Nigeria, again, is the only federation with a unitary judiciary which doesn’t work for everyone.
“We have done this in Kaduna State, but it will be helpful if the National Assembly takes charge and makes it a national policy and legislation of making twelve years of education free – primary, secondary, technical and vocational education…not just nine years. It should be compulsory, and first-line charge on the budgets of states and local governments.
Finally, of course, reforming the local government system; to make the local more autonomous and yet make each local government flexible to meet the needs of the state. In a diverse country like Nigeria, one local government system does not fit all. We have history, and traditions; what can work in Kaduna can not work in Anambra,” El-Rufai stated.