Move VAT To Exclusive List, Pass State Police Bill – El-Rufai To NASS

Kaduna State governor, Nasir El- Rufai, yesterday appealed to the National Assembly to move value added tax (VAT) from the concurrent to the exclusive list.

He made the appeal at the distinguished parliamentarian lecture 2022 with the theme, “Delivering on our contract with Nigeria, implementing the legislative agenda of the 9th House of Representatives- progress, challenges, and way forward,” organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) in Abuja…….COntinue Reading

A Federal High Court had last year ruled that states have the power to collect VAT, a decision the federal government strongly opposed.

The central government has continued to collect VAT while it projected that it will collect N2.2tn in 2022 through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

El-Rufai who was the chairman of the occasion also appealed to the lawmakers to pass state and community police bills before leaving office.

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He also suggested that appointments of all high court judges should be subjected to confirmation of the National Assembly.

The governor also called for the decentralisation of offshore exploration and mining as well as the judiciary.

According to him, education should be free for the first 12 years.

The governor also said the local government system should not be uniform, adding that it should be peculiar to the people‘s culture.

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He commended the lawmakers for passing landmark bills like the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Companies Allied Matters Act, Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, Deep Offshore Act, Health Insurance Legislation and Finance Bills.

El-Rufai also said he can never retire to the National Assembly because he doesn’t have the patience to lobby.

His words: “I can never function in the legislature. The hard work required to lobby your colleagues for bills and motions to be passed is what some of us do not have and cannot stomach.

“In the legislature, all are equal and it is difficult to manage equals. In the executive, it is easy because it is easy to manage your subordinates. I can hire and fire, but that is not the same with the legislature.

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On his part, Senate President Ahmed Lawan insisted that the National Assembly is underfunded and misunderstood.

He said, “I know we try our best; let there be no doubt; the legislature will remain understood. People feel parliamentarians are lazy people. No matter what we do, people see us as people elected to drink tea.

“We know the National Assembly at this moment is underfunded. The Distinguished Parliamentarians Lecture series is one of the laudable initiatives of NILDS geared towards bridging the gap between the electorates and their elected representatives.

“It is also an avenue for us, the parliament, to tell our stories to the wider audience, to change the misperception and misinformation in the public domain. No doubt, the legislature which is the fulcrum of democracy worldwide has been misunderstood, some for mischievous purposes and at times owing to its underdeveloped stature historically.”

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The Senate president also appealed to the Kaduna State governor to lobby his fellow governors to prevail on their state legislators to pass some of the bills pending at the state Houses of Assembly.

Lawan said the ground-breaking legislations, among many others passed by this National Assembly with the significant contributions of the 9th House of Representatives, demonstrate the fulfillment of the 9th National Assembly of its obligations under the social contract that exists between it and Nigerians.

“Distinguished Senators, Honourables, ladies, and gentlemen, these are the tasks facing the 9th House of Representatives. The 9th House of Representatives must never lose sight of its goals. It must continue to question abuse by officials of the executive branch and hold them to account.

“It must continue to check and balance the other governmental organs. And it must continue to pass laws that can guarantee the good governance of Nigeria as well as the lives and livelihoods of all Nigerians.

“The 9th House of Representatives must do all of these to enhance and secure Nigeria’s standing in the comity of nations. I do not doubt that the 9th National Assembly, under our committed leadership, will rise to this challenge and deliver on its promise to Nigerians,” Lawan said.

On his part, the director-general of NILDS, Prof Abubakar Suleiman, noted that the occasion attests to the robust nature of executive/legislative complementarity that is brought to bear on democratic practices in Africa, where Nigeria is taking the lead.

“For, if the symbiotic relationship between these very important arms of government, such as being witnessed here today, is strengthened, it portends a leeway for democracy and impactful good governance to thrive.

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“This however does not preclude the two arms having to occasionally diverge, even seriously on issues that have a direct bearing on the lives of constituents.”

The NILDS DG enjoined Nigerians and indeed friends of Nigeria to keep faith with the Nigerian project.

“There is a greater expectation that today’s lecture will not only properly define concepts, articulate positions, and agree on areas of accord while charting ways to resolve areas of discord; it will further make Legislative processes even clearer to Nigerians,” he added.

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