Governor Aminu Bello Masari has expressed the readiness of Katsina state to remain compliant with the federal government’s diversification of the national economy against overdependence on petroleum products.
Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari was speaking when he received a federal Commissioner of Revenue mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal commission, Professor Isah Mohammed who paid him a courtesy call at government house, Katsina.
Alhaji Aminu Masari recalled that in 2014, prior to the general elections and after assumption into office he had cause to inform people of Katsina state then that overdependence on the federation account would not help the state.
He recounted the history of old Katsina province under the Northern Nigerian government and the performance of the native authority that supported the police, judiciary and educational institutions with agricultural produce.
He said that the native authority was then paying wages to staff and as well contributing it’s qouta to Northern Nigerian government.
He said that the native authority was providing infrastructure, thereby even competing then with Kwara province in the region, adding that the province was doing very well.
If Katsina could perform such a feat with agricultural produce the Governor expressed optimism that diversification would pave way for revenue to be obtain to stop depending on the federation account.
He contended that even the civil war was financed through agricultural produce then, stressing that the boom in oil prevented the growth of agricultural produce in the region.
With politics, he said politicians abolished the payment of taxation, saying that even those who abolished taxes are now regretting.
Alhaji Aminu Masari explained that the psychological negative effects of abolishing taxation made people to view payment of taxes in whatever form as oppressive.
With that, the Governor explained that it took away the sense of responsibility and sense of ownership from the people.
This, he said was because in the federation account, the states were receiving huge amounts then.
In 1987 when Katsina state was created, the Governor explained that the population was not more than 3.7 million people against the over 7 to 8 million people presently who are occupying the same land space thereby competing to co-habitate with domestic and wildlife.
Alhaji Aminu Masari recalled that at inception, the APC administration organized an economic summit to attract investors in agriculture, saying that Dangote and BUA were allocated with lands as a follow-up to the summit.
He said Songhai farm was leased to Dangote while BUA was allocated a land to establish a textile factory in the state.
The Governor assured that the state government had continued to put structures to widen the revenue base of the state.
He however lamented that the twin problems of insecurity and Covid-19 had slowed down the state from enhancing it’s revenue base .
He also spoke on efforts being made to create an economic zone through the allocation of 800 hectares, adding that they are starting with one hundred hectares for small and medium size industries to pay taxes to government.
He said that Katsina state was lucky to be on the Lagos-Kano-Jibiya economic corridor that was identified by the world bank as a gateway to most of the West African countries.
Only two weeks ago, he said that the board of Katsina exploration and mining company to become a partner of who will be investors in the solid minerals sub sector with abundant minerals in the state.
He reiterated the determination of the present APC administration to make concerted effort to shore up the internally generated revenue in the state
Earlier the federal Commissioner, Professor Isah Mohammed who is a one time vice chancellor of two universities, Calabar and Abuja told Governor Masari that they were in Katsina for a stakeholders meeting in support of the Assessment tour of Economic Diversification projects and programmes initiated by the Revenue mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal commission.
Professor Isah Mohammed recalled that over the years, many states, including the federal government have grown to become highly dependent on revenue from one source, which is oil and gas.
He therefore restated that the central objective of the visit is to assess the progress,if any made by Katsina in the diversification of its economy.
Hassan Muhammad Tukur
Katsina Gazette/ Fitilar Katsina
Ministry of information