By Hon. Umar Haruna Doguwa
I write on behalf of significant number of kano citizens whom I believe we share many things in common one of which is our sincere desire for Kano state and its citizens to excell in all spheres of human endeavors. If anything therefore impinges on my state ability to make life better for the citizens under its care, not only irritates me but it compels me to ask legitimate question begging for cogent answers. Without answers I will left with much regret. In asking these questions today, for fear of not wasting time on the obvious, I will not comment on the Balkanization of kano Emirate with its more than 2000 years of history for personal vendetta and the approach of kano state Government in containing Covid 19 pendamic which overwhelming Kano citizens condemned. I will however dwell more on an article I read titled :
Sustaining development in kano amid covid-19 contagion,in an online newspaper, stallion times of 29th May 2020 by one Muhammad Garba, the kano state commissioner for information, who from all indications doubled as Government mouthpiece.The writer, I believed is presenting kano state Government score card which majority of Kano citizens believed is poor.
We are in Democratic era and governments are supposed to be elected and supported by popular opinion . However when security agents, thugs, election umpires, judiciary and the power “from above” are unleashed on law abiding citizens through state sponsored pseudo-rigging named inconclusive election which can not be found anywhere in our constitution, just to super imposed their preferred candidate is regrettable. This is more pathetic if it is done during the reign of “Mai gaskiya”, addressing the Legitimacy of the mandate therefore should have taken most of his time rather than fictions.
In his failed Mission, the commissioner said and I quote ” Sweeping reforms in tax administration in the state has given rise to an increase in the revenue generation profile within a span of three years (2016-march 2019) from N 36,430,164,351 in 2015, N40,360,209,904.24 in 2016, N42,419,811,470.65 in 2017 and N44,107,375,284.25 in 2018 with a percentage increase of 10.8%,0.05%,and 0.05% for 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively “. I thought the commissioner being the mouthpiece of the State Government would have taken time to compare notes with all relevant agencies before going to press. Surely, if he has done that some figures would not have been in the said article.
Let me briefly highlight some of the issues here. It could be recalled that Governor Ganduje set up a committee on Internally Generated Revenue chaired by Dr Ali H. Abubakar and four others as members. The report of which was submitted to the Governor in March 2020. In that report under Analysis of collection, it was said and I quote “The committee observed that in the year 2014 a total of N13,661,854,205.91 was generated as IGR for the year, but this is without including respective cooperate social responsibility within the various MDAs. However in 2015 the collection rose to N36,430,164,350.56 inclusive of cooperate responsibility projects at various MDAs. The figure for the period under review 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 were N40,360,209,904.24; N42,419,811,470.65; N44,107,375,284.25 and N40,593,701,332.47 respectively, with cumulative average of N41,870,274,497.90. The above shows that in 2015, without autonomy of the KIRS, without consultants , without newly recruited staff and with less funding, without LUC and other new tax legislation and Government support, the service was able to generate N36,430,164,350.56 inclusive of cooperate social responsibility. However, by 2016 a full autonomy was granted, new recruitment, better and reliable sources of funding through the 8% cost of collection for the period under review the collection remains within the average of N41,870,274,497.90 Cooperate social responsibility inclusive, it simply means if consultants were paid their respective percentages the total collection would fall less than the amount collected in 2015 (N36,430,164,350.56) and THEREFORE, THERE IS NO ANY INCREASE
IN REVENUE GENERATION WITHIN THE PERIOD UNDER REVIEW IN THE STATE”.Capital letters mine.
In the same report, the committee accused kano State Government under Governor Ganduje of so many unethical practices and a breach of Government financial regulations e.g 1) 197 firms where engaged as consultants at State Board of internal revenue alone. 2)The MOU signed between Government and the 197 firms have no details criteria for entitlement of commission on any amount generated. ( Meaning ministry of justice was never involved). 3) Most of the firms were engaged to do similar jobs without criteria. 4) There was an arbitrary upward reviews of commission for most of the firms. 5) Figures of collected revenue do not always reflect the actual collection. 6) Random and arbitrary dismissal or replacement of staff. 7) The report
importantly observed that after deducting consultants fee and 8% cost of collection, the revenue fall short of what was collected in 2015 and the previous years. I could not actually understand if Kano State Government through its commissioner for Information is referring to the above self confession of failure in revenue generation and the many unethical practices going within the Government circle as sweeping reforms in tax administration in the State which has given rise to revenue profile in the State. In its effort to exonerate itself from the blame, the State Government hypocritically suspended the Chairman of State Board of Internal Revenue without directing for forensic audit of the Board by a credibly recognized audit firm. What a regret !!!
The State Government through its Commissioner for Information also gave us a glimpse of our debt profile foreign and local, €64.5million Euro from French (N31,605,000,000 at parallel market price of N490= 1Euro) and another $200million from another foreign bank(N90,000,000,000. At parallel market price of N450= $1). For the local ones that we know, The N10,000,000,000 Overdraft/loan “Approved” by the State House of Assembly to enable the Government pay wokers salaries on 25th of every month which was never done. The N15,000,000,000 Education development loan and the N50,000,000,000 Social infrastructure loan, all totalling N196,605,000,000 by our calculation!! It is regrettable and distressing that the State Government cannot account for the internally generated revenue and loans it has generated and taken so far. In spite of these revenues and deluge of loans it generated and taken so far, the lives of Kano citizens on whose behalf they are collecting the revenues and amassing the loans is worsening by the day.
As envisaged by the founding fathers of our country Nigeria, Executive power may come with abnormal temptation for tyranny, only but a National or state Assembly made up of men and women of concise and courage can contains it and oversight the Executive effectively being one of its major functions . Kano State House of Assembly not an exception, however, ours is a loop, a rubber stamp. They can not protect us against any infringement on our religion, history or our means of livelihood. If I may ask therefore, what development is this Government sustaining,
please? What a regret!!!
Doguwa writes from Kano