By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—THE governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El- Rufai, yesterday asked the Federal Government to keep off from Value Added Tax, VAT, saying it was business of states.
According to him, VAT is purely a state affair and not that of the federal government.
He also frowned on the lack of true federalism in Nigeria which he described as a federation in name but unitary in reality.
Speaking yesterday at the 4th National Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, Peer Learning event organized by the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, in Abuja, Governor El-Rufai, who noted that there was urgent need to make the necessary corrections to make Nigeria a true federation, urged the experts to come up with recommendations that would guide political leaders in making the necessary adjustments.
El- Rufai, who affirmed that the All Progressives Congress, APC, Committee on True Federalism which he headed had already made recommendations to make Nigeria a true federation.
“It’s up to you to make recommendations that will make the political system to understand and make the necessary changes,’’ the governor said.
According to him, the ruling party has already accepted the recommendations.
The governor, who also spoke on the need for state personal income taxes to be different from national taxes, blamed the present condition of taxes on Nigeria’s colonial history.
Responding to a question on the matter, El- Rufai said: “I agree with you completely that in a federation there should be taxes that are national, while others are sub-national.
“But if you look at our history, you will see that we come from civilian-military regimes and many of these personal income taxes acts were done by the military.
“For instance, I do not agree that national minimum wage should be under the federation, I think minimum wage should be done by each state according to the level of income.
“If you look at the 1963 constitution, minimum wage was not in the exclusive list, it was added during the military rule.
Also in his presentation at the event, Kwara State governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, who disclosed that his state’s IGR increased to N2.2 billion monthly from N600 million in 2015, recalled that the state had witnessed serious economic challenges in 2014 because of shortfall in IGR and consequently, had problems paying salaries.
He said: “In that same year, a study of the infrastructure needs of Kwara State identified a N255 billion gap.”